(Adds futures prices, company news; updates snapshot table)
LONDON, April 29 European shares are expected to open flat to slightly higher on Friday, on track to rise for the seventh session in a row, though falls in Asian equities could weigh on sentiment and volumes were expected to be thin as Britain's market is closed for a holiday.
By 0629 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50 STXEc1, for Germany's DAX FDXc1 and for France's CAC FCEc1 were flat to up 0.05 percent.
Britain's stock market is closed for a royal wedding holiday.
In Asia, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index .MIAPJ0000PUS lost 0.5 percent as traders took profit from recent gains, while Australian shares shed 1 percent on the back of falls in heavyweight mining firms.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top shares ended up 0.4 percent at 1,153.70 points on Thursday, its highest closing level in eight weeks.
Gains in recent weeks have helped the index rise 2.6 percent so far this month, and it is on course to post its highest monthly gains since December 2010.
Investors were set to keep a close eye on April's euro zone inflation figures at 0900 GMT, which are expected to come in at 2.7 percent year-on-year, against the European Central Bank's target of close to 2 percent. Inflation has been above that figure since December.
The ECB raised euro zone interest rates this month by a quarter of a percentage point to 1.25 percent to address inflationary pressures being stoked by high energy prices.
Further corporate earnings are likely to provide direction for equities. Highlighting the strength of this season's corporate earnings, 58 percent of companies on the STOXX Europe 600 index that have so far reported earnings have posted in-line or above-forecast figures, with the rest coming in below expectations, data from Thomson Reuters Starmine showed.
In the foreign exchange market, the dollar struggled at three-year lows against a basket of currencies in Asia, remaining on track for its biggest fall in 14 weeks.
----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0622 GMT----------------------
LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 .SPX 1,360.48 0.36 % 4.82 NIKKEI .N225 9,849.74 1.63 % 157.9 MSCI ASIA EX-JP .MIASJ0000PUS 592.41 -0.30 % -1.79 EUR/USD EUR= 1.4832 0.05 % 0.0007 USD/JPY JPY= 81.53 -0.02 % -0.0200 10-YR US TSY YLD US10YT=RR 3.312 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD EU10YT=RR 3.257 -- 0.01 SPOT GOLD XAU= $1,534.01 -0.06 % -$0.94 US CRUDE CLc1 $112.48 -0.34 % -0.38 -----------------------------------------------------------------------
* GLOBAL MARKETS-Ailing dollar boosts demand for commodities [ID:nL3E7FT021]
* US STOCKS-Dow transports hit record, lifting Wall Street [ID:nN28271549]
* TREASURIES-US 10-yr yield steady [ID:nL3E7FT0BR]
* PRECIOUS-Silver, gold near lifetime highs [ID:nL3E7FT028]
* METALS-ShFE copper falls after weak US data; LME shut [ID:nL3E7FT09E]
* Crude falls on fears slower U.S. growth may cut demand [ID:nL3E7FT0DJ]
Daimler posted stronger than expected first-quarter operating profit as its passenger car business was boosted by demand from emerging markets such as China. [ID:nWEA7475
French energy company Total offered to pay up to $1.37 billion for a majority stake in U.S. solar company SunPower Corp SPWRA.O, one of the biggest moves ever by an oil and gas giant into the market for renewable energy.[ID:nN28286200]
Saint-Gobain, the world's largest building materials company, posted a stronger-than-expected 12.2 percent rise in first-quarter sales, helped by a recovering building sector in Europe and a mild winter. [ID:nLDE73Q0ZR]
Norway's Yara reported first-quarter earnings well above expectations as improved fertiliser prices more than compensated for increased energy costs. [ID:nLDE73S03A]
DEUTSCHE BOERSE (DB1Gn.DE)
Nasdaq OMX (NDAQ.O) and IntercontinentalExchange (ICE.N) are poised to go hostile in their bid for NYSE Euronext NYX.N after shareholders ratcheted up pressure on the Big Board parent to get a better deal.[ID:nLDE73R15U]
French construction and concessions group Vinci said first-quarter sales jumped sharply, boosted by acquisitions and its contracting business which benefited from mild weather. [ID:nLDE73R26T]
The world's largest premium eyewear group, is looking to a positive 2011 after a strong start to the year in North America and key emerging markets, echoing optimism among luxury peers.
First-quarter net profit rose 21 percent to 115 million euros, helped by higher demand in the U.S., Asia and Latin America, the company said on Thursday. [ID:nLDE73Q1NP]
Swiss medical device maker Synthes Inc wants to win market share after its first-quarter sales met forecasts with a 7.8 percent rise, underscoring the attractiveness of the group for Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N).
Finland's top builder YIT posted smaller-than-expected earnings for the January-March period on Friday but stuck to its previous view of clear profit growth for the full year. [ID:nLDE73S02I]
DEUTSCHE BANK (DBKGn.DE)
The German government's bank levy will burden Germany's largest lender to the tune of 70 million euros in 2011, Germany's Handelsblatt said, citing financial and government circles.
Sanofi Aventis is reviewing the possible acquisition of Alli and Valda, two of the 19 consumer healthcare products GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) is looking to sell, Les Echos said on Friday, without citing any source. Sanofi has repeatedly said it was looking to expand in the consumer healthcare sector.
French yellow-pages publisher PagesJaunes posted a 1 percent decline in first quarter revenue and ket its 2011 financial goals. It also said it might launch a bond issue to refinance its debt [ID:nASA020SL]
Heidelberg swung to an operating profit of 4 million euros in its 2010/11 financial year from a prior-year loss of 130 million. [ID:nLDE73R21F]
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance group is in talks to buy the stake held by Bharti Enterprises in an Indian insurer joint venture with AXA Group (AXAF.PA), the Economic Times reported on Friday. [ID:nL3E7FT0AG]
(Reporting by Harpreet Bhal)