Investors are cautiously optimistic Monday as they wait for Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke to provide more clarity about when the central bank may start to cut back on its bond-buying program.
U.S. stock futures were higher ahead of the opening bell, shaking off last week's downward momentum. Stocks from other major indexes around the world also gained, as leaders from the Group of Eight met for a summit in Northern Ireland.
But the Fed is more likely to dominate investor attention. As far as the markets are concerned, Kit Juckes of Societe Generale said that all eyes are on this week's Fed policy meeting and Bernanke's accompanying news conference Wednesday. The Fed will also updated its economic projections for 2013 to 2015.
"The general expectation is that Ben Bernanke will calm fears of over-zealous tapering," Juckes said. "Still, the case for beginning the process of letting some air out of the monetary bubble is pretty clear and surely the Fed will be wary of backing down too easily."
In economic news, the New York Fed's survey of manufacturers came in stronger than expected. The general business conditions index climbed to 7.8 in June, up sharply from -1.4 the previous month. A reading above zero indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector.
In corporate news, Netflix ( shares jumped after the company announced a deal with DreamWorks, which will create original shows based on characters DreamWorks Animation's properties like Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda. )
European markets posted solid gains Monday. The major indexes in both Germany and France were up by more than 1%.
Meanwhile, Asian markets ended with mixed results.
Japan's Nikkei index, which has seen some of the wildest swings in the past few weeks, rallied by 2.7%. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong moved up by 1.2%, but the Shanghai Composite index dipped down by 0.3%.