LONDON, July 23 (Reuters) - European shares were set to rise on Tuesday, tracking gains in Asia, on reports saying China would launch railway projects to help the construction sector and that economic growth will not be allowed to fall below a level. Asian stocks were supported by stronger Chinese shares, with the CSI300 index of leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-shares listings rising 3.2 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng up 2.1 percent and Japan's Nikkei gaining 0.8 percent. "We are set to open higher in Europe on the back of better noises originating from China. Every sign that things are getting better there will surely be helpful for sentiment in general, and cyclicals in particular," Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets, said. The market was also expected to get some boost from company earnings. European and U.S. companies scheduled to publish their earnings reports later in the session included U.S. tech giant Apple. Swatch Group, the world's biggest watchmaker, said its first-half net profit rose more than expected, while Norwegian telecoms group Telenor reported second quarter earnings slightly ahead of expectations. According to Thomson Reuters StarMine, 18 percent of the STOXX Europe 600 companies had reported second-quarter results so far, of which preferred earnings of half of the companies had met or beaten forecasts. On the revenue front, 64 percent companies had met or beaten predictions. At 0652 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, UK's FTSE 100, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were 0.3 to 0.4 percent higher. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index ended 0.1 percent higher at 1,210.70 points on Monday, after hitting an intra-day high of 1,213.24, the highest since early June. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0652 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,695.53 0.2 % 3.44 NIKKEI 14,778.51 0.82 % 120.47 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 524.53 1.67 % 8.62 EUR/USD 1.3185 0.02 % 0.0002 USD/JPY 99.53 -0.11 % -0.1100 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.484 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 1.516 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,330.96 -0.31 % -$4.08 US CRUDE $106.75 -0.18 % -0.19 > Asian stocks hit 6-wk high, gold steadies after jump > Wall St edges higher despite McDonald's disappointment > Nikkei turns up as investors buy large cap stocks, focus on earnings > TREASURIES-Prices stable before new supply > Dollar edges down in summer lull, tracks U.S. yields > Gold extends gains into 4th session, near 1-month top > Copper slips from 1-month high as investors take profits > Brent hovers above $108 on weaker dollar, supply risks COMPANY NEWS KPN The Dutch telecoms group will sell its German unit E-Plus to competitor Telefonica Deutschland for 5 billion euros ($6.6 billion) in cash and a 17.6 percent stake in the merged company. VIVENDI French media and telecoms conglomerate Vivendi said on Tuesday it had entered into exclusive talks to sell its majority stake in Maroc Telecom IAM.CS to Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat for 4.2 billion euros ($5.54 billion) in cash. SWATCH The world's biggest watchmaker Swatch Group said it expects a strong second half of the year after its first-half net profit rose more than expected. For more, click on: TELENOR Norway's Telenor reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings on Tuesday and launched a new share buyback programme to reward shareholders in a company enjoying a rare European telecoms growth story. SULZER Swiss machinery manufacturer Sulzer said on Tuesday it was considering selling its Metco division, mainly active in automotive and aviation industries, to concentrate on oil and gas, power and water markets. For more, click on: SAP The departure of co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe follows a power struggle within the company's dual CEO structure, German business daily Handelsblatt reported, citing company sources. Related news DEUTSCHE BANK Deutsche Bank AG has poached UBS AG's veteran head of investment banking in Thailand, Phumchai Kambhato, in a push to take advantage of Thai companies' growing appetite for overseas deals, sources with knowledge of the matter said. Related news STMICROELECTRONICS Europe's largest maker of semiconductors posted a second-quarter loss more than double that of a year earlier as it struggles with a softening smartphone market and an uncertain home economy. LLOYDS The part state-owned British bank will sell its first tranche of tax-payer owned shares in six to eight weeks, the Daily Mail has reported. KLEPIERRE The French real-estate group, co-owned by Simon Property and BNP Paribas , said it was targeting higher-than-expected cash flows this year as its shopping malls resist Europe's slowdown. GECINA The Paris-listed real estate company raised its full-year target for asset sales to 850 million euros, taking into account its sale of four Club Med holiday villages announced earlier this month.