European shares eked out a gain as EU leaders prepare to meet at a summit in Brussels where they will try to bridge differences over plans for a banking union, a step to solve the ongoing sovereign debt crisis. This marks the fourth time EU leaders have met this year and the 22nd summit held since the start of the crisis in 2009.(Read More: Cost of Four Euro Exits? $22 Trillion—Study)
However, European officials are not expected to discuss Greece, Spain or Cyprus at the summit, according to a Reuters report. Meanwhile, a 24-hour general strike is expected in Greece on Thursday.
Among earnings, Morgan Stanley reported quarterly earnings and revenue that beat analysts' expectations. Still, shares were lower, along with other major financials.
Verizon edged higher after the wireless telecommunications company posted earnings that matched expectations, while revenue topped Wall Street estimates.
Dow component Travelers posted earnings that topped expectations, while revenue fell slightly short. Travelers was able to increase rates in all business lines and also retain customers, a strong sign for the rest of the industry. The company has been a bellwether for insurers' ability to raise pricing after years of weakness. Other insurance companies including ACE and Chubb also climbed.
Microsoft, AMD and Capital One are among major companies scheduled to report earnings after the closing bell.
Ebay jumped a day after the online auction website topped profit expectations by a penny and offered current-quarter guidance and a full-year earnings outlook that matched expectations. In addition, at least four brokerages boosted their price target on the company.
So far, nearly 20 percent of S&P 500 firms have posted earnings results this quarter. Sixty-five percent of companies have topped earnings expectations, while 20 percent have missed, according to data from Thomson Reuters.
If all remaining companies report earnings in line with estimates, earnings will be down 1.5 percent, from last year's third quarter.
—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)
Coming Up This Week:
FRIDAY: Existing home sales; Earnings from GE, McDonald's, Schlumberger, Honeywell, Edward Lifesciences