Stocks opened lower on Wednesday as policymakers warned Europe's debt crisis posed dangers to the global economy and on growing signs the contagion was starting to spread to larger European nations.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 87.94 points, or 0.73 percent, to 12,008.22. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index lost 10.04 points, or 0.80 percent, to 1,247.77. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 22.33 points, or 0.83 percent, to 2,663.87.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)