(ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development. See the bottom of the report)
LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) - European shares headed for a higher open on Tuesday, mirroring gains on Wall Street and in Asia, with firmer commodity prices seen supporting mining and energy stocks, while a rally in U.S. tech giant Apple could help European technology firms.
Futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX, France's CAC and Britain's FTSE were 0.5 to 0.8 percent higher by 0651 GMT.
Investors were expected to keep a close eye on energy stocks after crude oil prices rose for a second straight session as the market focused on supply disruptions that prompted long-time bear Goldman Sachs to issue a bullish assessment on near-term prices.
European technology companies could also be in focus as Apple shares finished up 3.7 percent after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway reported a stake worth about $1 billion in the iPhone maker.
Wall Street rallied sharply on Monday, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.8 percent on Tuesday, with Japan's Nikkei also gaining about 1.1 percent.
The company said its earnings growth would accelerate this year after a programme to improve its networks boosted demand in Europe and helped the group to return to underlying growth in 2016 revenue and core earnings for the first time since 2008.
The company reported higher fourth-quarter sales of its branded foods, which include Oxo seasonings and Bisto gravy, and said it would take a closer look at streamlining operations in the coming year.
The drugmaker's drive to rebuild its portfolio of new medicines received a boost on Tuesday with positive results for a biotech drug for severe asthma that the company has previously flagged as a potential $2 billion-a-year product.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has agreed to join the U.S. government panel that is reviewing state-owned ChemChina's planned $43 billion acquisition of Swiss seeds and pesticide maker Syngenta AG, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.
Separately, the first extension period of the public tender offer to buy Syngenta will commence on May 24 and end on July 18.
Shareholder Lower Saxony wanted to withhold its backing for the carmaker's top management at a supervisory board meeting but relented to avoid further damaging the firm, a source close to the German federal state said.
Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the world's largest, said on Sunday it plans to join the class-action lawsuits filed against Volkswagen over the German automaker's emissions scandal.
Volkswagen has raised 2 billion yuan ($306.35 million) in a bond sale in China.
Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto said on Monday it had submitted feasibility studies to the Guinea government for its massive Simandou iron ore project, considered the world's biggest untapped iron ore deposit.
French President Francois Hollande said utility EDF's Hinkley Point project in Britain should go ahead, a few days after his energy minister and former partner cast doubts on the $26 billion plan to build nuclear reactors.
Deutsche Bank named Thomas Piquemal, former finance chief at French utility Electricite de France, as global head of mergers and acquisitions, effective May 17.
German auto parts supplier Schaeffler AG has no plans to increase its 46-percent stake in Continental to gain a majority share, the head of the company's supervisory board told Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
RWE is just one notch above junk status after Moody's downgraded the German utility's debt to Baa3 from Baa2, citing weak power prices, Germany's nuclear exit and the company's exposure to coal.
The fashion house on Monday named Mark Langer, its finance chief since 2010, as the company's new chief executive to bring the business back on track after disappointing results recently.
Finland's Konecranes has agreed to buy Terex Corp's cranes business for ports and factories for 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion), in a move that cancels a planned full merger and allows the U.S. firm to pursue talks with a rival suitor.
The building material maker's U.S. rival Standard Industries Inc is buying a 29.1 percent stake in Braas Monier via its investment vehicle 40 North, according to a statement on Saturday.
The Swiss bank's Americas wealth unit is partnering with online financial advisor SigFig Wealth Management to develop technology and investment tools for the Swiss bank, UBS said on Monday.
The Swiss group has agreed to buy British equity investment group Taube Hodson Stonex (THS), which manages around 1.8 billion pounds ($2.60 billion) of assets.
The drugmaker is seeking to resolve a dispute with Colombia over the Latin American country's intention to allow generic competition for leukaemia drug Glivec to cut prices for the drug even though it is still protected by a patent, the Tages-Anzeiger paper reported at the weekend.
Separately, the Novartis Foundation and its partners announced the launch of the Ho Chi Minh City Communities for Healthy Hearts Program, which it said is designed to improve health outcomes of adults with hypertension living in low-income households in urban Vietnam.
Credit Suisse has hired Ray Raimondi, formerly of Barclays , to lead its global mergers and acquisitions team for deals in the industrials sector, the Swiss bank said on Monday.
The two Italian banks said on Monday they would cut 1,800 jobs and close 335 branches before 2020 after they merge later this year to create Italy's third-biggest banking group.
ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon (see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development). In a real-time, multimedia format from 0600 London time through the 1630 closing bell, it will include the best of our market reporting, Stocks Buzz service, Eikon graphics, Reuters pictures, eye-catching research and market zeitgeist. Breaking news and dramatic market moves will continue to be alerted to all clients and we will continue to provide a short opening story and comprehensive closing reports.
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Mike Dolan, Markets Editor EMEA. (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)