U.S. stock index futures were higher, pointing to a firmer start on Wall Street on Monday, with both the Dow Jones futures and the S&P 500 futures up 0.3 percent by 3.56 a.m. ET, and the Nasdaq futures up 0.2 percent.

CIT Group Inc's board signed off on a deal late on Sunday to receive $3 billion in rescue financing from a group of bondholders, in a plan the lender hopes will allow it to avoid bankruptcy, a source close to the situation said.

Shares in the company, which lends to nearly one million small and mid-sized businesses, in Frankfurt soared nearly 53 percent.

Texas Instruments is expected to post an earnings per share of 23 cent in the second quarter, according to a survey of 18 analysts. That compared with an EPS of 44 cents in the corresponding period of last year.

Legg Mason is expected to report an EPS of 22 cents when it releases its quarterly results, according to 12 analysts. It posted an EPS of -22 cents in the same period last year.

M&T Bank Corp, Halliburton, Boston Scientific Corp and Hasbro Inc are also due to report their quarterly earnings on Monday.

Private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co on Monday moved a step closer to merging with its Euronext-listed fund after receiving approval from the board of the fund to combine businesses.

Barnes & Noble Inc consolidated its publishing operations, as the nation's biggest bookstore chain hunts for efficiencies amid a severe downturn in the industry, the Wall Street Journal said.

Human Genome Sciences Inc said its experimental drug to treat lupus was successful in a late-stage clinical trial, a likely shock to many on Wall Street who had written the drug off as dead.

Shares of Goldman Sachs could rise to between $175 and $200 in the next year if the investment banking firm can continue to report quarterly profits of $4 to $5 a share, Barron's said, citing analyst predictions.

Oil rose above $64 a barrel, extending last session's 2.5 percent gains, bolstered by a rally in Asian stocks and fall in the dollar on hopes of a global economic recovery.

U.S. White House Director Peter Orszag said on Sunday that second-quarter U.S. gross domestic product figures are likely to be better than the first quarter, showing some signs of improvement in the economy.

The U.S. recession's grip on the economy appears to be easing but likely has not yet ended, according to a survey of economists released on Monday.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top shares was up 0.9 percent at 878.34 points. The index is up around 35 percent since hitting its lifetime low on March 9.

U.S. stocks closed out their best week in four months on Friday on a flat note as strong earnings from IBM softened the blow of disappointing results from General Electric Co .

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 32.12 points, or 0.37 percent, to 8,743.94. But the Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> dipped out 0.36 of a point, or 0.04 percent, to 940.38. And the Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 1.58 points, or 0.08 percent, to 1,886.61.

(Reporting by Dominic Lau; Editing by Mike Nesbit)