In corporate news, Facebookhas admitted that it had secretly hired a PR firm to generate stories critical to the way Google handles privacy.
Yahoo sank after news the Alibaba Group, which is 43 percent owned by Yahoo, restructured Alipay, one of its businesses, without the knowledge of Yahoo or Softbank, another stakeholder.
AIG gained after it was upgraded to "market perform" from "underperform" at Wells Fargo. AIG is in the process of preparing a secondary stock offering.
Tyco shares soared after a report in the New York Post that the company is in early-stage talks with Schneider-Electric, which is expected to offer $30 billion in a private-equity funded bid. The Post cited sources close to the situation.
And in politics, talks about the debt limit are embroiled in chaos.
European shares bounced back on better than expected economic growth data in euro zone engine Germany and in France.
But the Greek debt problem continued to unfold, with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou saying that the current spreads of Greek bond yields over those of other euro zone states were not sustainable in a monetary union.
Meanwhile, European Central Bank Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny said Greece seemed not to have met the terms of its international bailout lately.
Also in economic news, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary consumer sentiment index for May will be released at 9:55 a.m. Economists surveyed by Reuters expect the index to rise slightly to 70.0 from 69.8 in April.
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