JPMorgan slipped after the Wall Street Journal reported that the bank's $13 billion proposed deal with the Justice Department is at risk of collapse. The Journal reported fights over separate criminal charges and insurance could scuttle the deal.
Blackberry rallied after Dow Jones reported that the smartphone maker's executives met with Facebook last week to gauge interest in a potential bid.
IBM zipped higher after the computer hardware and software company added $15 billion to its stock buyback program.
Among earnings, Apple topped quarterly expectations, but gains were limited as the iPhone maker projected gross margins for the current quarter below Street estimates. Still, at least 11 brokerages boosted their price targets on the firm. Still, the tech giant erased its year-to-date losses and turned positive for 2013.
BP rallied after the oil giant topped earnings expectations. Also, the company hiked its quarterly dividend by 5 percent and said it would sell $10 billion of assets over the next two years.
Pfizer edged higher after the drugmaker reported quarterly earnings that topped expectations, even though global sales declined 2 percent.
Aetna ticked lower after the health insurance company reported earnings that missed expectations and gave a full-year profit outlook that was below estimates.
LinkedIn, Yelp, Baidu and Aflac are among notable companies slated to post quarterly results after the closing bell.
On the economic front, retail sales slipped in September, according to the Commerce Department, disappointing economists who had expected a gain. Adding to woes, consumer confidence fell sharply in October, according to the Conference Board.
On the upside, single-family home prices climbed inAugust, according to the S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas.
Elsewhere, producer price index unexpectedly dipped in September, according to the Labor Department, logging the first decline since April.
Treasurys held slight gains after the government auctioned $35 billion in 5-year notes at a high yield of 1.300 percent. The bid-to-cover ratio, an indicator of demand, was 2.65, versus a recent average of 2.68.