US STOCKS-Futures rise on M&A, ADP jobs report on tap

 * Valeant Pharma to buy Cephalon for $5.7 billion
 * Trading volume could be light ahead of quarter end
 * March ADP report expected to show private job gains
 * Futures up: Dow 55 pts, S&P 6.7 pts, Nasdaq 15.25 pts
 * For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
 By Ryan Vlastelica
 NEW YORK, March 29 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures
rose on Wednesday as merger and acquisition activity lifted
sentiment before data expected to show private-sector job
creation.
 * Gains may be limited by uncertainties over Japan's
nuclear power situation and civil unrest in oil-producing
regions. Trading volume has been weak, with Tuesday's the
second-lowest of the year, suggesting shaky investor confidence
as the quarter ends on Thursday.
 * Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International
(VRX.TO: Quote, Profile, Research)(VRX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) made an unsolicited bid to buy Cephalon Inc
(CEPH.O: Quote, Profile, Research) for $5.7 billion. For details, see [ID:nN29299668]
 * The bid follows AT&T Inc's (T.N: Quote, Profile, Research) recent proposed purchase
of T-Mobile USA and eBay Inc's (EBAY.O: Quote, Profile, Research) bid for GSI Commerce
(GSIC.O: Quote, Profile, Research), signs that stocks could be viewed as cheap.
 * Dow component DuPont (DD.N: Quote, Profile, Research), the chemical company,
extended its $6 billion takeover bid for Denmark's Danisco
(DCO.CO: Quote, Profile, Research) by four weeks and said shareholders of 6 percent of
Danisco's stock had accepted the offer. [ID:nLDE72T0BE]
 * The ADP employment report, to be released at 8:15 a.m.
[1215 GMT], is expected to show 203,000 private-sector jobs
were created in March, fewer than in February. While the report
doesn't have a high correlation with Friday's closely watched
non-farm payrolls report by the Labor Department, a good ADP
number could increase optimism about the labor market.
 * S&P 500 futures (SPc1: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 6.7 points and were above
fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into
account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures (DJc1: Quote, Profile, Research) added 55
points and Nasdaq 100 futures (NDc1: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 15.25 points.
 * Family Dollar Stores Inc (FDO.N: Quote, Profile, Research) reported second-quarter
earnings that rose from the prior year and were at the high end
of the company's forecast, which it recently raised.    
[ID:nN29260008].
 * Tibco Software Inc (TIBX.O: Quote, Profile, Research) fell 1 percent to $26 in
light premarket trading a day after it gave a second-quarter
outlook that implied slowing growth. [ID:nL3E7ET2VM]
 * Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote, Profile, Research) (TM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Honda Motor Corp
(7267.T: Quote, Profile, Research) (HMC.N: Quote, Profile, Research) took fresh steps to scale back production or
reduce orders of some parts in North America after supplies
were disrupted by the March 11 Japan earthquake.
[ID:nN29258412]
 Strength in energy lifted U.S. stocks on Tuesday as
investors concentrated on adding to winning positions, but
uncertainty kept trading volume light.
 (Editing by Kenneth Barry)

US STOCKS-Futures rise on M&A, ADP jobs report on tap