Before the bell: Stocks may start session higher; housing plan, economy, autos in focus

U.S. stock futures crept higher Wednesday morning following Tuesday's sharp sell-off in which the Dow dropped nearly 300 points. While some economic data is on the docket later this morning, investors will likely continue to focus on President Obama's economic stimulus bill, housing plan and auto and financial sector bailouts.

Obama signed the economic stimulus plan Tuesday. The $787 billion package is one of the biggest public spending programs since World War II. Despite that, Wall Street has its doubts the stimulus and bank bailout programs can stop the global economic freefall. Investors hammered the Dow to within a fraction of a point of its lowest close in 5 1/2 years Tuesday. The market lost 3.8 percent, the S&P plunged 4.6 percent, and the Nasdaq sank 4.2 percent.