Clashes continue over tax increases on the wealthiest Americans over the weekend. In separate TV appearances on Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a high-profile Republican, and Nancy Pelosi, leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives diverged over whether further tax rises were on the cards. While McConnell completely ruled out raising tax revenue, Pelosi refused to rule out pushing for higher taxes on higher earners.
European shares were flat in morning trading after global banking regulators announced a watering down of key elements of their plan for banking rules meant to create a safer global financial system.
Investors will turn their attention to the fourth-quarter earnings season that starts this week. Aluminum producer Alcoa is scheduled to post results on Tuesday, while banking giant Wells Fargo reports on Friday. Earnings are expected to be slightly better than the previous quarter's lackluster results and analysts' current estimates are down sharply from what they were in October.
Bank of America edged higher after the financial giant reached a $10 billion settlement with Fannie Mae over mortgage repurchases.
Elsewhere, Amazon gained after an upgrade from Morgan Stanley and Intel edged higher after Lazard called the chipmaker a "buy."
But Yahoo slumped after Bernstein downgraded the company to "market perform," though it did raise its price target one dollar to $23.
On Sunday, the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision, a group of the world's top regulators and central bankers, agreed to give banks four more years to build up cash reserves.
—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)
Coming Up This Week:
MONDAY: Supreme Court in season
TUESDAY: NFIB small business optimism index, 3-yr note auction, consumer credit, International Consumer Electronics Show; Earnings from Alcoa, Apollo Group
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage applications, oil inventories, 10-yr note auction; Earnings from Constellation Brands, PriceSmart
THURSDAY: Jobless claims, wholesale trade, natural gas inventories, Fed's George speaks, 30-yr bond auction, Fed's Bullard speaks, Fed's balance sheet, money supply, Fed's Kocherlakota speaks, Herbalife analysts day, videogame sales data release; Earnings from Chevron (interim report), Ruby Tuesday
FRIDAY: International trade, import and export prices, Fed's Plosser speaks, Treasury budget, Best Buy to report holiday sales; Earnings from Wells Fargo
More From CNBC.com: