Stock Opened Higher as Investors Eyed Italy

U.S. stocks opened moderately higher Tuesday ahead of a key confidence vote in Italy, the next step in Europe’s unfolding debt crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately added 33.19 points to 12,101.58. The S&P 500 rose 5.55 points to 1,266.67. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 19.46 points to 2,714.71.

Financial markets held their breath on Tuesday as Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s reform-shy government teetered on the brink and debt-crippled Greece’s leaders struggled to put together a national unity government. Italian 10-year borrowing costs touched a new record of 6.71 percent on Tuesday, raising the risk that Rome’s massive debt — the second highest in Europe at 120 percent of gross domestic product — could spiral out of control.

Oil rose to the highest price in more than three months in New York on signs of shrinking stockpiles in the U.S. and amid speculation European leaders will make progress in containing the region’s debt crisis. Crude for December delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose as much as $1.08 to $96.60 a barrel, the highest price since Aug. 1, and was at $96.14 at 10:21 a.m. London time.

Toyota said its quarterly profit slid 18.5 percent to 80.4 billion yen ($1 billion) on plunging sales caused by parts shortages from the tsunami disaster in northeastern Japan and warned it faces a new challenge from flooding in Thailand. Toyota’s quarterly sales fell nearly 5 percent from a year earlier to 4.57 trillion yen ($58.7 billion).

Dynegy Inc. said Tuesday that one of its subsidiaries is seeking bankruptcy protection as part of a plan that will force bondholders to take heavy losses while shielding major investors including billionaire Carl Icahn.

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