U.S. stock index futures surged following a monthly government employment report that blew past estimates.
The economy created 243,000 new positionsin January, according to a government report, the largest increase since April 2011. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate slipped to 8.3 percent. Both figures were well above expectations. A Reuters survey showed economists expected a gain of 150,000 jobs and a steady unemployment rate of 8.5 percent.
"Wall Street traders and investors have been waiting for a breakout macro point for years—this is it! Even the revisions are better, and have taken everyone by surprise," said Todd Schoenberger, managing director of LandColt Trading. "The real benefactor from this number will be those on extended benefits—companies will be eager to position some of that outstanding cash into the human capital component."
A survey of small businesses showed hiring remained flat in January, while openings for hard-to-fill jobs increased slightly.
The ISM January non-manufacturing index and December factory orders will both be out at 10 a.m.
Among earnings, Tyson Foods gained after the meat processor posted earnings that easily topped estimates.
Meanwhile, Estee Lauder posted results that met expectations, but shares of the skin-care products maker slumped after handing in an outlook that was below current projections.
European stocks reversed a negative trend after UK services PMI jumped to a 10-month high; meanwhile, in the euro zone the private sector snapped four months of decline and advanced.
Talks on resolving Greece's sovereign debt problems continued, with Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos warning that the European Central Bank must take part in Greece's hoped-for debt swap.
The Swiss Competition Commission announced an investigation into possible cartel behavior by a dozen banks, among them UBS and Credit Suisse but also Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase.
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FRIDAY: Factory orders, ISM non-mfg index; Earnings from Clorox
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