Stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Wall Street Monday, with futures for the S&P 500 up 0.61 percent, Dow Jones futures up 0.55 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.73 percent at 3:44 a.m. EDT.

European shares gained ground in early trading Monday, with defensive sectors such as pharma, telecom and utilities leading the tentative rally following last week's sharp losses.

Oil lost ground, hit by nagging concerns over the economic outlook and on the prospect of a restart of Libyan oil flow into the market as the country's civil war appeared close to an end.

Spot gold surged more than 1 percent to a third consecutive all-time high Monday, as investors fled to the safety of bullion amid fears of another U.S. recession and the euro zone's debt crisis.

Efforts to reach a settlement regarding faulty mortgage foreclosure processes have hit a snag as bank executives and U.S. officials debate whether banks should get broad legal protection from state officials for mortgage-related claims, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.