In a nearly unprecedented move the Federal Reserve early Tuesday cut the Federal discount rate by .75 of a point, the largest single rate cut in 20 years.

The move did not come at one of the Fed's regularly scheduled meetings but rather overnight in response to some truly dreadful news from foreign stock exchanges over the last two days. Foreign markets followed Monday's steep declines by losing as much as nine percent of the value of some Asian exchanges although those in Europe were near positive territory by the close. There was speculation early this morning that overnight numbers indicated the U.S. market might open down as much as 575 points.

At the opening bell the Dow was down by the mid-300s but within minutes had fallen to -450.