Preopen Trading: Tuesday's Hard Market Softens Futures

The Dow's crumble wracks markets abroad. The Nikkei is hit worst, closing at 22-month lows.
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Whew. At least yesterday is over.

Well, the

Federal Reserve

released results of its meeting Tuesday, choosing to switch to an easing bias, meaning that the Fed believes the risk of a recession is greater than the risk of inflation. Although the Fed didn't cut rates, this 180-degree bias change is a good sign that it might be sooner than later.

American markets did not take the news in stride. The last two hours of trading were a wild ride, with the

Dow Jones Industrial Average falling from three-digit gains to end with a loss. Overnight, foreign markets had a chance to react and the results were not good. Asian markets took a huge spill, while all of Europe was red and throbbing.

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Meanwhile, on the futures home front, the picture was a little soft, but nothing to be terrified of.

S&P 500

futures on

Globex

, an electronic exchange where both currency and futures options trade, slid 6.5 to 1311.5, 11 points below fair value as calculated by

Prudential Securities

.

Nasdaq 100

futures dropped 15 to 2395, 4 points below fair-value as calculated by

TheStreet.com

.

On

Instinet

, where stocks trade both before and after the bell, technology names were lower.

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

traded at $33, 43 cents lower than its closing price yesterday.

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

was off a buck.

European markets were taking a sizeable hit, following the Fed's bias change and the disappointing end to Tuesday's stateside trading. London's

FTSE

fell 101.10 to 6193.90, while the Paris

CAC-40

dropped 85.18 to 5873.68 and the German

Xetra Dax

fell 85.34 to 6393.94.

Asian markets were devastated. Japan's

Nikkei 225

fell 217.94 to 13,914.43, not only falling through the psychologically pivotal 14,000 level but hitting 22-month lows as well. Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

dropped 257.32 to 14,930.72.

For Tuesday's postclose trading, see

The Night Watch.