Stocks fell at the open on Wednesday as Brent crude prices continued to tick up on intensified fighting in Libya and after a bond auction in Portugal failed to ease concerns the country would need a bailout.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 19.07 points, or 0.16 percent, to 12,195.31. The Standard & Poor's 500 <.SPX> fell 3.40 points, or 0.26 percent, to 1,318.42. The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> lost 16.25 points, or 0.59 percent, to 2,749.52.