There had been concerns that the Chinese economic slowdown was intensifying.
While the latest data show China's economy grew at a slower pace in the second quarter -- with gross domestic product expanding by 7.5% over the previous year -- the performance matched the government's target and the consensus estimate from private forecasters.
"While confirming the inevitable slowing of the emerging market's expansion, [there's] a collective sigh of relief that it wasn't any weaker," noted Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets
China has averaged growth of around 10% a year in the past three decades.
In company news, the stock price for Leap Wireless International(LEAP) jumped 115% in premarket trading Monday, after AT&T(T) said on Friday that it plans to acquire the prepaid wireless provider for about $1.2 billion.
Bank earnings remain in focus Monday. Citigroup(C)'s share price rose 2% in premarket trading after the bank reported quarterly net income of $4.2 billion, or $1.34 per diluted share, and revenue of $20.5 billion, driven by lower loan losses.
Crazy trends indicate economy's future
On the economic front, U.S. retail sales grew 0.4% in June, according to the Commerce Department. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast a 0.7% rise.
U.S. stocks inched higher Friday, and the slim gains were enough to send the Dow and S&P 500 to new record closing highs, and the Nasdaq to the highest level in over a decade.