Stock index futures rose on Tuesday as corporate earnings fueled investors' optimism on their return from a 3-day holiday.

But debt issues centered on Greece and other peripheral euro zone countries remains a concern.

Barclays Plc , the second-largest bank in Britain by market value, said it had started the year well after beating forecasts with 2009 profit of $18.2 billion, adding it had reined in payouts for staff after a public backlash over banker pay. U.S.-traded shares of the bank gained 10.9 percent to $18.50 in premarket trading.

Kraft Foods Inc posted a higher quarterly profit and said its recent acquisition of British chocolatier Cadbury Plc would help accelerate long-term growth. But the stock slipped 1.3 percent to $28.70 before the bell.

Barclays earnings are interesting because it is a stock that has been performing poorly like the rest of other financials, so it tells a somewhat positive story, said Craig Peckham, equity trading strategist at Jefferies & Co in New York.

But the global fears about risk in general continues to linger in the market, particularly due to Greece, he added.

Earlier, Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said Greece must step up efforts to cut its budget deficit and understand that other euro zone citizens are not prepared to pay for its government's mistakes.

S&P 500 futures gained 2.2 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 rose 12 points and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 3.8 points.

Drugmaker Merck & Co posted quarterly profit in line with analysts' estimates and stuck by its goals for massive savings from its recently completed merger with rival drugmaker Schering-Plough Corp.

New York Federal Reserve releases at 8:30 a.m. EST its Empire State Manufacturing Survey for February. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a reading of 18.0 compared with 15.92 in January.

National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo issues the February housing market index at 1 p.m. EST. Economists in a Reuters poll expect a reading of 16, compared with 15 in January.

If President Barack Obama's plan to ban proprietary trading at some banks was applied in the European Union, it could be problematic for the bloc's universal banks, an EU document obtained by Reuters said. The plan, dubbed the Volcker rule, was drafted by White House adviser and former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, stunned global markets last month and is already facing resistance in Congress.

U.S. crude oil futures were up $1.03, or 1.4 percent, at $75.21 a barrel, spurred by gains in the euro against the dollar.

In other parts of the world, Australia's central bank intends to raise rates gradually this year to contain inflation, while keeping a wary eye on both sovereign risk abroad and the efforts of China to cool its economy.

The Dow and S&P 500 dipped on Friday as China's move to curb bank lending and U.S. and European economic data raised fears the global recovery might be in jeopardy.

(Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)