Investors were bracing for quarterly results from aluminum major Alcoa , due to kick off the U.S. earnings season on Monday.
On the macro front, data showed China ended 2009 with record monthly imports of crude oil and soybeans and a strong appetite for iron ore and copper, while its aluminum and steel sectors saw an increase in export volumes.
U.S. crude oil futures were up 83 cents at $83.58 a barrel, while base metals surged, with copper up almost 3 percent.
St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said that last Friday's monthly jobs report showing 85,000 jobs were shed and unemployment steady at 10 percent would not change the Fed's policy. It was different from expectations but not far enough to really change assessments of policy, said Bullard, who votes on the U.S. central bank's policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).
China will extend active fiscal policies aimed at countering the global economic slowdown into 2010, the nation's finance minister said, warning that departing too early from those policies could damage the economy.
Delta Air Lines and American Airlines will not be invited to invest in Japan Airlines <9205.T> until after a new management has been put in place, if ever, a person familiar with the matter said.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc may expand a program that would require executives to give a part of their pay to charity, as it looks to cool public anger over compensation, the New York Times reported on Sunday.
Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia), considered the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, still sees big risks to the global economy and plans to refine its investment approach to cope with downturns. In an interview published in German business daily Handelsblatt on Monday, Sheikh Ahmed bin Zayed al Nahayan, Adia's managing director, also said U.S. treasuries were still the most liquid benchmark, and will remain an important diversification tool.
European stocks were up 0.8 percent in morning trade, with mining shares such as Xstrata and Rio Tinto rising along with commodity prices, buoyed by China's strong trade data. Japanese markets were closed on Monday for the Coming of Age Day.
U.S. stocks rose on Friday after trading in the red most of the day as investors concluded weak December jobs data wouldn't interrupt a trend of steady economic recovery.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 11.33 points, or 0.11 percent, to 10,618.19. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> climbed 3.29 points, or 0.29 percent, to 1,144.98. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 17.12 points, or 0.74 percent, to 2,317.17.
(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Hans Peters)