Futures held their sharp gains Tuesday after the long holiday weekend, buoyed by a successful Spanish debt auction and higher than expected growth in China, but weaker-than-expected earnings from Citi limited gains.
Among earnings, Citigroup fell in pre-market trading after the banking giant posted disappointing earnings of 38 cents a share versus an estimates of 49 cents.
Meanwhile, rival Wells Fargo reported better-than-expected earnings as the bank set aside less money to cover bad loans.
Overseas, China reported GDP growth of 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter, slowing from 9.1 percent in the previous quarters but slightly beating expectations. Chinese stocks ended the day higher and miners lifted stocks in Europe.
Investors were also encouraged after a successful auction of Spanish short-term debt, in which demand was strong and yields halved.
S&P downgraded nine euro zone countries, among them France and Austria, late on Friday and the euro zone's rescue fund, the EFSF, late on Monday.
But some analysts told CNBC the downgrades were highly anticipated, despite knocking down stocks and the euro on Friday.