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U.S. Stock Futures Point to Downside Open

Updated from 7:05 a.m. EDT

Premarket futures were pointing at a lower open of U.S. stocks Monday, as it became apparent that the credit crisis had spread beyond America into Europe and Asia.

Futures for the S&P 500 were down 29 points at 1080 and were 25 short of fair value. Nasdaq futures were 34 points lower at 1444 and were 39 below fair value.

In a sign of a global financial crunch, leaders from France, Germany, Italy and the U.K. met Saturday and agreed to coordinate efforts to prevent failures in Europe's financial system.

On Sunday, a scramble ensued to help troubled institutions. Germany rescued lending company Hypo Real Estate, and France's BNP Paribas said it would take over Benelux bank Fortis NV. Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, announced that Germany would guarantee all of its private bank deposits. On Monday, Denmark followed suit.

Back in the U.S., Wells Fargo (WFC) said it intended to go ahead with its purchase of Wachovia (WB). Wells Fargo said an appeals court vacated a ruling that extended an exclusivity agreement between Citigroup (C) and Wachovia.

On Monday, analysts at both Keefe Bruyette and Friedman Billings upgraded Wells Fargo to market perform from underperform.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal said that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson would appoint adviser Neel Kashkari to supervise the $700 billion bailout program for the financial system. Paulson's proposal passed the House of Representatives and was signed by President Bush on Friday.

On Monday, Bank of America (BAC) announced it would modify about 400,000 mortgages to help borrowers who had taken out loans from Countrywide Financial, which BofA acquired on July 1.

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