The industrial sector could gain after Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the group to attractive from in-line, saying the companies' share prices should catch up to an improving business environment. Among the companies it upgraded, shares of Caterpillar Inc gained 3.5 percent to $52.54 before the opening bell.
Worries that rising debt in Greece, Portugal and other euro zone states could undermine a global recovery has sapped confidence from equity markets in recent weeks.
Expectations of a rescue for Greece followed news that European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet was leaving a meeting of central bankers in Sydney early to attend a European Union leaders' summit.
The biggest overhang has really been the sovereign debt issue that's been plaguing markets for the better part of two weeks, said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co in Boston.
I think the biggest driver in this market is the hope we get some sort of resolution in Greece.
The rescue talk also lifted commodity prices, which could lend support to materials shares. The price of oil recovered early losses to rise to near $73 a barrel.
Among the morning's earnings, Coca-Cola Co reported a profit in line with analysts' estimates as strong volume in Latin America and other parts of the world offset a decline in North America.
S&P 500 futures rose 10.3 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 75 points and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 16.25 points.
On the economic front, investors will watch December wholesale trade data due at 10:00 a.m. Inventories are expected to have increased half a percentage point, after jumping 1.5 percent in November, the fastest rate in over five years. Rising inventories suggest businesses are preparing for a healthier economy.
On the downside, shares of Electronic Arts Inc fell about 7 percent in premarket trade after the company warned fiscal 2011 earnings would miss expectations.
The Dow closed on Monday below 10,000 for the first time since November, as investors sold bank shares on concerns over the euro zone debt troubles.
The benchmark S&P 500 is off 8.1 percent from its 15-month closing peak of January 19, but still up 56.2 percent from its March 2009 bottom.
Boeing Co could see interest after it flew its twice-delayed 747-8 freighter for the first time on Monday, a significant milestone in the long history of the 747 family. The shares gained 1 percent in premarket trade to $58.43.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)