Euro Debt News Lifted Stocks

.S. stocks closed sharply higher Monday as signs that a widespread European debt crisis could be averted were lifting the market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 108.98 points, or 0.9%, to 12,043.56. The S&P 500 gained 11.65 points, or 0.9%, to 1,280.10. The Nasdaq Composite rose 35.39 points, or 1.3%, to 2,688.28.

French banks agreed to accept slower repayment of Greece’s debt, giving Greece more time to meet its other immediate financial obligations. Greek lawmakers are expected to vote this week on more budget-cutting measures.

Oil prices wavered below $91 a barrel Monday. Benchmark oil for August delivery fell 55 cents to settle at $90.61 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. 

Standard & Poor’s lowered its corporate credit rating Monday on homebuilder Toll Brothers Inc., saying that a weak spring sales season means the housing recovery will take longer than expected. S&P downgraded Toll Brothers and its financing subsidiary to “BB-plus” from “BBB-minus.” The cut also applied to about $1.5 billion of senior unsecured notes.

The Los Angeles Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection, blaming Major League Baseball for rejecting a television deal with Fox Network to give the storied baseball team an urgent injection of cash.

Nike Inc. reported late Monday fiscal fourth-quarter net profit rose to $594 million, or $1.24 a share, from $522 million, or $1.06 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue for the period ended May 31 rose 14% to $5.77 billion from $5.08 billion.

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