The International Monetary Fund cut its global growth forecast to a 3.3 percent for 2012, making it the slowest year of growth since 2009. It warned U.S. and European policymakers that failure to fix their economic ills would prolong the slump, and forecast China's growth would weaken to 7.8 percent this year.
European shares were flat as German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes her first official visit to Greece, amid thousands of protestors, since the debt crisis erupted. The Greek government is still in discussion with the troika (the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) regarding austerity cuts it must make to secure the next tranche of its bailout. The two sides have so far failed to reach an agreement.
Apple edged lower after Nomura initiated the iPhone maker with a "neutral" rating and a price target of $710. Separately, Credit Suisse said it sees a strong second half for Apple and reiterated its "outperform" rating.
Third-quarter earnings season kicks off with results from Dow component Alcoa after the closing bell. Analysts expect the aluminum producer to post a break-even quarter, down from reporting earnings of 15 cents a share a year ago, according to data from Thomson Reuters. Yum Brands is also scheduled to post earnings.