Stocks Closed Marginally Lower on Eurozone Debt Jitters

Stocks fell on Monday, but finished the day well off of intraday lows, as ongoing worries over the euro zone debt crisis kept investors from fully jumping in. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 6.74 points, or 0.05%, at 12,653.72 after coming back from a 1% drop earlier in the day. The S&P 500 slid 3.32 points, or 0.25%, to 1,313.01. The Nasdaq was down 4.61 points, or 0.16%, at 2,811.94.

European leaders agreed on a permanent rescue fund for the euro zone on Monday and 25 of the 27 EU states backed a German- inspired pact for stricter budget discipline, but they struggled to reconcile fiscal austerity with economic growth.

A Federal Reserve survey has found that more than half of U.S. banks that lend to European banks have tightened their standards, a reflection of the persistent European debt crisis. Of the 26 U.S. banks surveyed that make loans to European banks, five said they had tightened their standards considerably in the October-December quarter. Another 10 said that they had tightened them somewhat in the same period, according to the survey released Monday.

State and federal officials are close to a settlement with the largest U.S. banks over mortgage abuses, with states facing an end-of-the-week deadline to decide whether they will sign on.

Crude-oil futures declined Monday as lingering concerns about the euro zone made investors call global oil demand into question and as the U.S. dollar traded higher. Crude for March delivery fell 78 cents, or 0.8%, to $98.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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