Stock index futures pointed to a mixed open on Wall Street Monday, with futures for the S&P 500 flat, Dow Jones futures up 0.2 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures down 0.2 percent at 0945 GMT.
Tokyo's Nikkei <.N225> gained 1.1 percent, while European stocks turned negative before an auction of up to 3 billion euros of five-year Italian bonds that will test investors' appetite for the country's debt and could set the equity market's near-term direction.
Investor sentiment was helped by data showing Japan's economy expanded 1.5 percent in the third quarter -- the fastest growth among major industrial nations -- as the country bounced back from an earthquake-triggered recession.
Following Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's resignation, the country's president Giorgio Napolitano asked former European Commissioner Mario Monti on Sunday to form a government to restore market confidence, and Monday's bond auction will be seen as an initial judgment on his leadership.
In Greece, the new Prime Minister Lucas Papademos -- a former central banker who oversaw his country's entry to the euro zone in 2002 -- will have to win Wednesday's confidence vote in his Cabinet before meeting euro zone finance ministers in Brussels on Thursday, state television reported.
President Barack Obama served notice on Sunday that the United States was fed up with China's trade and currency practices as he turned up the heat on America's biggest economic rival.
Morgan Stanley's Asia private equity arm is in talks to buy a majority stake in Chinese packaging firm HCP Holdings Inc, four sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, a deal that could value the company at about $500 million.
U.S. stocks jumped on Friday, ending higher for the week after the Italian Senate's approval of economic reforms gave investors some relief from worries about the euro zone's debt crisis.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 259.89 points, or 2.2 percent, to end at 12,153.68. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 24.16 points, or 1.95 percent, to finish at 1,263.85. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 53.60 points, or 2.0 percent, to close at 2,678.75.
(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Erica Billingham)