Stocks edged down at the open on Wednesday as concerns over debt issues in the euro zone, Japan's nuclear crisis and violence in the Middle East and North Africa persisted.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 15.10 points, or 0.13 percent, at 12,003.53. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 2.48 points, or 0.19 percent, at 1,291.29. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 5.62 points, or 0.21 percent, at 2,678.25.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch)