Despite the usual stabs of discouraging news Monday, financial stocks were generally floating higher on the updraft of the broad market: recently, the NYSE Financial Sector Index crept up 44.27 points, or 0.6%, to 7,898.91. Lending some support was Minneapolis asset manager Ameriprise ( AMP), which added 3.9% to $55.65 on a Keefe Bruyette upgrade to outperform. That also helped pull the Amex Securities Broker-Dealer Index 1.8% higher in recent trading. Fremont General ( FMT) also gained ground after the California-based bank sold its Irving, Texas loan-servicing facility, thus taking another step toward transitioning out of its discontinued real-estate lending business. Fremont didn't specify the sale price, but it expects to save some $12 million a year in overhead costs after the deal closes in the current quarter. Shares were up 17 cents, or 4.8%, to $3.68. Citigroup ( C), meanwhile, saw mixed trading after CNBC reported that the New York bank will probably announce layoffs numbering between 17,000 and 24,000 after tomorrow's earnings report -- which, said the network, could reflect write-downs totaling as much as $24 billion. A dividend cut, the possibility of which has been kicked around lately, may also be on the horizon. Furthermore, over the weekend The Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal will likely be among a consortium of investors throwing a life raft to Citi. The precise dollar amount isn't yet known, but Alwaleed's holdings will probably remain under 5% for the sake of minimal regulatory hassle, said the Journal. China Development Bank, meanwhile, is expected to pour in roughly $2 billion. The Journal first reported last week that Citi is in talks with more foreign investors following a hefty Middle Eastern cash injection in November.