Stocks opened lower on Monday as political brinkmanship in Washington over the debt ceiling sparked fears of a U.S. rating downgrade, sending world equities lower and pushing gold to a record high.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 106.37 points, or 0.84 percent, at 12,574.79. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 11.29 points, or 0.84 percent, at 1,333.73. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 27.26 points, or 0.95 percent, at 2,831.57.

(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica)