Stocks fell at the open on Monday as a delay in emergency loans to Greece and a possible downgrade of Italy's credit rating rekindled fears about the euro zone debt crisis, pushing investors out of riskier assets.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 28.15 points, or 0.23 percent, to 11,976.21. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> lost 3.42 points, or 0.27 percent, to 1,268.08. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> fell 7.13 points, or 0.27 percent, to 2,609.35.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak)