Stocks tumbled at the open on Tuesday, with indexes off more than 2 percent, on fears the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis was worsening and the U.S. economy was slipping back into a recession.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 281.54 points, or 2.50 percent, at 10,958.72. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 30.31 points, or 2.58 percent, at 1,143.66. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 60.08 points, or 2.42 percent, at 2,420.25.

(Reporting by Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)