Futures pared most of their earlier losses Tuesday, but investors continued to remain on edge over the ongoing European debt concerns and a handful of tepid economic news.
Stocks rebounded to finish near session highs in a volatile session Monday, following an FT report that China was in talks with Italy to purchase its bonds.
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is scheduled to hold a conference call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday to focus on developments on Greece's economy.
An auction of Italian 5-year debt saw yields rise, demonstrating there is still concern about Italian sovereign debt.
The euro fellas the news of Chinese buying failed to allay concerns that the euro zone's crisis is still deepening.
The Italian government meets later this week to finalize new budget measures to bring the deficit down, but debt at 120 percent to GDP remains a major concern for the country.
On the economic front, import prices fell 0.4 percent in August due to lower fuel, food and industrial material costs, according to the Labor Department. Economists had expected import prices to fall 0.8 percent, according to a Reuters survey.