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Stock Futures Hint at Slightly Higher Open

But fear remains that the $700 billion bailout of financial firms will drive up interest rates and weaken the dollar.

Premarket futures were hinting at a slightly higher open for stocks on Wall Street Tuesday, as investors awaited further news on the government's historic bailout of the U.S. financial markets.

Futures for the

S&P 500

were up 0.2 points at 1214 and were 4.9 points ahead of fair value.

Nasdaq

futures were up 1.3 points at 1671 and were 4.5 above fair value.

On Monday, stocks suffered heavy losses as traders attempted to assess the impact of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's sweeping bailout of financial firms. Paulson's $700 billion plan would create a government institution to buy from banks the bad debt at the core of the credit crisis.

Although the plan is a welcome boon to many investment firms with hard-to-value securities on their balance sheets, fear remains that the massive government-spending increase will drive up interest rates and weaken the dollar as new government debt floods the market. Later Tuesday, Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke are set to appear before the Senate to discuss the bailout plan.

Meanwhile, brokerages

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Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) Report

and

Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Morgan Stanley (MS) Report

over the weekend agreed to become bank holding companies. Many have speculated about whether the big brokerages, following their transformation, will buy small regional banks to build a base of retail deposits.

After recording a record $25 spike during the previous session, the price of crude oil was off $1.86 to $107.51. Gold was down $5 at $904.

The price of longer-term U.S. Treasury securities was rising. The 10-year note was up 14/32 to yield 3.78%, and the 30-year was up 20/32, yielding 4.38%. The dollar was higher vs. the yen and euro, but declining against the pound.

Overseas, European markets were taking some knocks, while Asian exchanges ended mixed. The FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt were lower. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong finished with a loss. Japanese markets were closed Tuesday.