Premarket futures were indicating stocks would open sharply lower Wednesday as a global recession and blocked credit markets left investors with little room for optimism.

Futures for the S&P 500 were down 28 points at 977 and were 22 short of fair value. Nasdaq futures were lower by 42 points and were 45 below fair value.

On Tuesday, stocks fell hard as credit markets remained tight after an unprecedented Federal Reserve decision to begin buying commercial paper from U.S. businesses. Speaking in the afternoon before the National Association of Business Economists, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the economy was at risk for a painful slowdown and hinted that he may soon reduce the fed funds rate.

After Bernanke's comments, the Dow Jones Industrial Average sloughed off 508 points, and the S&P 500 dropped 5.7%, reaching a five-year low. The Nasdaq dropped 5.8%.

Ahead of the new day's trading, conditions appeared to worsen. As evidence of a worldwide slowdown piled up, European governments struggled to put together their own rescue plans. The U.K. government set up an $87 billion rescue package for U.K. banks.

Indices abroad were hurting. In Europe, London's FTSE and Frankfurt's DAX were each down at least 4.3%. Asia fared worse; Japan's Nikkei closed down 9.4%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 8.2%.

Stateside, investors faced the final day of trading with the Securities and Exchange Commission's temporary ban on short-selling of more than 900 financial stocks. The moratorium, implemented in mid-September, is set to expire at midnight, and the SEC gave no sign it would extend the ban.

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