DJIA 0.31% 26,683 dow jones industrials

u.s. futures rise as ambac rescue hopes grow

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    LONDON, March 5 (Reuters) - U.S. stock futures pointed to a
    modest rise for Wall Street on Wednesday before data that may
    give some taste of Friday's employment report and as hopes grew
    for a prompt rescue for bond insurer Ambac Financial .

    Financial shares were among the major movers among top U.S.
    stocks traded in Europe. Shares in Citigroup , which on
    Tuesday fell by more than 4 percent on concern about its
    possible losses, rose by 3.2 percent from their last close in
    Frankfurt to 14.7 euros .

    Bank of America rallied 1.4 percent from its last
    European close to 25.49 euros .

    By 1030 GMT March Dow Jones futures were unchanged,
    while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures were up
    between 0.2 and 0.3 percent.

    The indicative Dow Jones index <.DJII> was down 0.7 percent
    at 12,130.08 points.

    Tech stocks looked set to rally, having pared losses on
    Tuesday after the chief executive of Cisco Systems said
    he had grown more confident in the company's long-term targets
    for revenue growth.

    Cisco shares were up 0.5 percent from their last European
    close at 15.96 euros in Frankfurt , having closed down
    0.5 percent on the Nasdaq on Tuesday.

    On the data front, investors will get a look at
    private-sector employment and the number of layoffs in February
    in two separate reports before Friday's non-farm payrolls
    figures, as well as a measure of the strength of the mammoth
    U.S. services sector.

    "Despite the signs of optimism there is little news that
    points to the gains being sustainable," said Claire Collingwood,
    a dealer at CMC Markets, in a note.#

    "With some (economic) figures out before the open we could
    see the index futures picture change however currently we are
    looking at a slightly stronger open when the markets open later
    this afternoon."

    Talks on a solution to ailing bond insurer Ambac Financial
    Group's problems are continuing, a person briefed on the
    matter said on Tuesday, after CNBC television said a deal was
    near, pushing Ambac shares up nearly 8 percent and helping the
    U.S. market cut losses during the session's last hour.

    In Europe, shares in Ambac were up by more than 17 percent
    from their last close in Frankfurt at 7.20 euros , while
    those in rival MBIA were up 6.2 percent from their last
    close in Frankfurt at 8.60 euros .

    The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> ended Tuesday down
    45.10 points, or 0.37 percent, to 12,213.80. The Standard &
    Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> dropped 4.59 points, or 0.34 percent, to
    1,326.75. But the Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> inched up 1.68
    points, or 0.07 percent, to 2,260.28.

    Other data on Wednesday include weekly mortgage index
    figures, as well as revised quarterly productivity and labour
    costs data and revised durable goods orders.
 
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