US hopes for debt ceiling deal as deadline looms

Hopes for heading off a default and ending a US federal government shutdown grew today after encouraging comments from the congressional leaders at the centre of the discussions.

The stock market turned positive on the optimistic predictions of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for the Democrats and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell for the Republicans.

President Barack Obama postponed a meeting with the congressional leaders planned for today to allow their discussions to continue uninterrupted.