* European shares weaken, Wall St set for lower open
* Focus turns to Fed meeting, U.S. GDP numbers
* Dollar drops to weakest since March 3
* Graphic: Global asset performance http://tmsnrt.rs/2yaDPgn
* Graphic: World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
By Tommy Wilkes
LONDON, April 26 (Reuters) - Stocks gave up early gains on Monday as confidence that economies are recovering rapidly was overshadowed by caution over the speed of the market's rally and ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting.
The start to the week was quiet as investors refrained from taking on large positions before a two-day Fed meeting that will begin on Tuesday and the impending release of quarterly gross domestic product numbers for the United States.
Investors have remained ebullient in recent weeks, with Wall Street hitting another intraday record high on Friday and European shares not far off their own record highs.
But there was some limited selling on Monday in Europe.
Wall Street futures pointed to a weaker open ESc1 after Friday's gains.
Asian shares rallied, however. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS reached its highest since March 12, despite a late selloff in Chinese shares.
That helped offset the falls in Europe and lift the MSCI world equity index .MIWD00000PUS , which tracks shares in 49 countries, by 0.16%.
Stocks -- as well as most other risk assets -- are basking in a massive rally. The MSCI world index has suffered only three down months in the past 12 and is up nearly 5% this month and 9% for the year as investors bet on a rapid post-pandemic economic rebound turbocharged by vast government and central bank stimulus.
Analysts, however, say stocks look a little overvalued and that the rally will run into hurdles after setting such a lightning pace and with so much of the economic recovery and fiscal stimulus splurge already priced in. real crux of the issue, however, is what's in the price. The year-to-date rally has increasingly eliminated upside to our targets," noted Andrew Sheets, a strategist at Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS ).
"Across four major global equity markets (the U.S., Europe, Japan and emerging markets), only Japan is currently below our end-2021 strategy forecast."
Still, recent data pointing to a solid global economic recovery has bolstered confidence and limited any investor nervousness, as have strong corporate earnings and the continued rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in developed economies.
Early April manufacturing activity indicators out last week pointed to a robust start to the second quarter with data hitting record highs in the United States and signalling an end to Europe's double-dip recession.
First-quarter U.S. gross domestic product data due later in the week is likely to show activity probably returned to pre-pandemic levels, analysts said.
Most observers expect the Fed will stick to its pledge to keep stimulus flowing easily until the economy has recovered sufficiently and downplay the threat of rising inflation -- any suggestion otherwise could knock confidence sharply.
"The equity market is happy that the Federal Reserve is likely to continue with no new guidance on eventual tightening of policy as it wants to react to outcomes rather than anticipating them and believes that any inflationary rise in coming months will prove transitory," said Steen Jakobsen, Chief Investment Officer at Saxo Bank.
In currencies, the dollar -- which had benefited from rising Treasury yields the past few months - fell against a basket of currencies =USD to its weakest since March 3. Other major currencies were little changed. JPY=EBS EUR=EBS
Bitcoin snapped a five-day losing streak with an 8.5% jump BTC=BTSP . Cryptocurrencies fell on Friday on concern that U.S. President Joe Biden's plan to raise capital gains taxes would curb investments in digital assets.
Those tax proposals, while raising hackles among some investors, caused only a temporary blip in stock markets' march higher.
Government bond yields rose as investors dumped safer assets.
The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield rose 2 basis points to 1.5843% US10YT=RR but that is some way off the plus-1.7% levels hit earlier this month when fears about a spike in inflation rattled markets. Euro zone government bond yields also ticked higher DE10YT=RR .
Turkey's lira TRYTOM=D3 rebounded 1.3% following its recent slide but remains close to an all-time low as a chill settled on relations with the United States and after the new central bank chief signalled rate hikes would harm the economy. commodities, U.S. crude CLc1 fell $1.01 to $61.13 per barrel and Brent LCOc1 eased $1.11 to $65.
<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Emerging markets
http://tmsnrt.rs/2ihRugV Global asset performance
http://tmsnrt.rs/2yaDPgn MSCI World Equity Index
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> (Editing by Ed Osmond and Bernadette Baum)
Add Chart to Comment
We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:
- Enrich the conversation
- Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
- Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
- Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
- NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
- Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
- Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
- Only English comments will be allowed.
Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.