Futures pointed to a flat open following three days of gains Monday, though developments in Japan, Libya and the Middle East kept alive the potential for volatile trading.
Wall Street advanced for a third straight day Friday, but global uncertainty kept investors cautious and oil prices high.
In the day's economic news, U.S. consumer spending rose slightly more than expected in February for the eighth straight month of gains as households tapped their savings, according to government data, while inflation accelerated at its fastest pace since June 2009.
The Commerce Department said spending rose 0.7 percent after an upwardly revised 0.3 percent gain in January.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity, to advance 0.6 percent in February after a previously reported 0.2 percent rise.
In Libya, rebels pushed west over the weekend to retake a series of towns from the forces of Muammar Gaddafi who have been pounded by Western air strikes, while in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad deployed the army in the country's main port of Latakia for the first time after nearly two weeks of protests spread across the country.
President Obama will make a national televised address Monday eveningat 7:30 pm ET to defend U.S. participation in NATO mission in Libya. (CNBC.com will be streaming the event live.)
NATO on Sunday assumed full responsibility for military operations in Libya, ending uncertainty about who would lead the effort.
Japanese stocks fell Monday after the country was rocked by yet another 6.5 magnitude earthquake and fears over high levels of radiation at the crippled Fukushima reactor.
Wal-Mart Stores will re-open 12 stores of its Seiyu stores in Japanwhich were affected by the earthquake, and is hoping to re-open the remaining 12 stores as soon as possible, according to a spokesman for the retailer.