The new offer was welcomed, albeit with reservations, by a spokesman for Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner. (Read More: US 'Fiscal Cliff' Deal Closer, but a Divide Remains)
On the economic front, the U.S. current account deficit fell more than expected in the third quarter to $107.5 billion, the lowest in nearly two years, according to the Commerce Department. Economists polled by Reuters expected a reading of $103.4 billion.
The National Association of Home Builders' market sentiment index for December will be released at 10 am ET. The index stood at 46 in the prior month.
Financials gained after widely-followed bank analyst Meredith Whitney turned bullish the sector. Whitney also upgraded Bank of America, Citigroup and Discover Financial to "buy" from "hold."
Apple rose after the iPhone maker was reiterated with an "outperform" rating at Cowen. Separately, rival Samsung says it will withdraw European injunction requests against Apple, according to a report from Bloomberg.
Arbitron surged after Nielsen said it will acquire the radio station ratings provider in a deal worth $1.26 billion.
Oracle is scheduled to post earnings after the closing bell.