(Updates futures prices, adds company news)
LONDON, July 21 (Reuters) - European shares headed for a flat to slightly higher open on Tuesday, with investors focusing on company results as the second-quarter earnings season gathered pace in Europe.
German business software maker SAP's revenues topped expectations due to a surge in cloud software delivered via the Internet, while Europe's biggest biotech company, Actelion, lifted its core earnings forecast for the year.
Futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX, Britain's FTSE and France's CAC traded between flat and 0.2 percent higher by 0639 GMT.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed 0.3 percent higher at 1,613.95 points in the previous session. But gold stocks were hit by a sharp drop in prices of the precious metal.
U.S. stocks ended 0.1 to 0.2 percent higher on Monday, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite recording its third straight record close. In Japan, the Nikkei index rose 0.9 percent on Tuesday.
Investors will keep a close eye on commodity shares as oil prices fell on Tuesday, dragged down by a firm dollar and ample supply of both crude and refined products. Gold prices stabilised just above a five-year low.
The market's attention has shifted from Greece to company earnings. Greece reopened its banks and ordered billions of euros owed to international creditors to be repaid on Monday in the first signs of a return to normal after last week's deal to agree a tough new package of bailout reforms.
German business software maker SAP reported mixed quarterly results on Tuesday as revenues topped expectations due to a surge in newer, lower-margin cloud software delivered via the Internet, pushing down profit to the very low end of hopes.
Swiss drugmaker Novartis on Tuesday maintained its 2015 financial outlook as it reported second-quarter core net income that fell short of expectations. For more, click on
Speciality chemicals and paints maker Akzo Nobel said it was on track to meet its 2015 targets on Tuesday as it posted second-quarter results that were broadly in line due to tight cost control.
Sweden's Handelsbanken reported quarterly operating profit just above market expectations as higher business volumes and lower funding costs helped offset the impact of negative interest rates imposed by the country's central bank.
Europe's biggest biotech company lifted its core earnings forecast for the year as it made progress in renewing its portfolio of drugs to treat high blood pressure in the lungs.
Britain's postal firm Royal Mail posted flat revenue in its first quarter and said it would continue to focus on cost controls this year as letter volumes fall and competition holds back growth in the parcels market.
HSBC - Banco Bradesco SA, Brazil's No. 2 private-sector bank, late on Monday began exclusive talks to acquire HSBC Holdings Plc's Brazilian unit, according to a person with direct knowledge of the transaction.
Swedish telecom operator Tele2 posted a second-quarter core profit below expectations on Tuesday and affirmed its outlook of largely flat sales and earnings in 2015.
Norwegian fertiliser producer Yara posted quarterly core earnings broadly in line with forecasts on Tuesday, helped by lower natural gas costs and a stronger dollar.
One of the world's largest aluminium producers posted second-quarter operating earnings above expectations in spite of falling aluminium prices as its products segments improved.
French food group Bonduelle SCA is in discussions to team up with Centerview Partners in a bid to acquire General Mills Inc's Green Giant frozen and canned vegetable business, according to people familiar with the matter.
French spirits group Remy Cointreau said like-for-like first-quarter sales fell 9 percent year-on-year, hit by weak demand for premium cognac in China and its exit from the lower-priced VS cognac category in the United States, its top market.
A Chinese central government guesthouse, where Beijing has hosted leaders from Nixon to Putin, has sued electronics maker Koninklijke Philips NV PHG.AS claiming false advertising, a potential headache for the Dutch firm in one of its key markets.
The French telecoms group said it had entered an exclusive agreement with Bharti Airtel about buying the Indian group's subsidiaries in four African countries.
The French auto parts maker is considering selling its bumpers unit and may get as much as $450 million, according to Bloomberg.
The Dutch grocer said its Stop & Shop division had entered into an agreement with Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea company to acquire 25 A&P stores in greater New York for $146 million.
The French construction and consessions group's APRR toll road operator reported a 2.7 percent increase in revenue in the first half on the back of a 2.2 percent increase in traffic.
The French glass maker said it had finalised a agreement creating a joint venture in Tanzania with Lodhia Gypsum Industries that is 50 percent owned by Saint-Gobain.
The luxury goods company forecast that its first-half operating margin would decline slightly year-on-year because of the weaker euro but stuck to its medium-term sales growth target.
Mexican state oil company Pemex PEMX.UL reached a $295 million settlement with a group including German industrial conglomerate Siemens SIEGn.DE in a longstanding dispute over a refinery project, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday.
The engine maker's second-quarter adjusted Ebit may jump 30 percent, a Reuters poll of banks and brokerages showed.
The TV broadcaster is in talks to buy a stake in advertising group Scout24 from U.S. private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, Handelsblatt reported on Monday, citing sources in the banking industry.
Europe's largest dedicated online fashion retailer said profitability slowed in the second quarter because of a "temporary rise" in payment costs.
Q3 2015 Apple
Q2 2015 Yahoo!
Q4 2015 Microsoft
Q2 2015 Bank of New York Mellon
Q2 2015 United Technologies
Q2 2015 Verizon Communications
Q2 2015 Harley-Davidson
0600 CH Trade
1255 US Redbook ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ > Asian shares edge higher, gold steadies > Wall Street ends flat as commodities weigh > Nikkei rises to 3-week high on earnings optimism > Yields rise on Bullard comments, expected corporate supply > Dollar near 5-week peak vs yen on Fed official's hawkish comments > Gold steadies after rout, but bearish sentiment intact > London copper seen capped as U.S. rate rise view lifts dollar > Oil prices slip on stronger dollar, ample supply (Reporting by Atul Prakash)