GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares, euro fall as Greek meetings loom

* European shares down 1.1 percent after recent rally
    * Euro dips but holds ground near seven-week high vs dollar
    * Japan July exports slump most in six months
    * US stock futures indicate Wall St to open down
    * Greek meetings, Fed minutes eyed

    By Nigel Stephenson
    LONDON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Global shares, the euro and
Spanish bonds fell on Wednesday as the prime minister of
struggling Greece was set to kick off a series of meetings that
could set the course for the euro zone debt crisis.
    Many big stock markets have risen 15-20 percent since June
on expectations of central bank intervention to address the
crisis, but with details unclear and obstacles still in the way
of action, some investors doubt recent gains are merited.
    Top European shares were down 1.1 percent by 1214
GMT after falls in Asia on the back of a plunge in Japanese
export numbers.
    London's FTSE 100, Paris's CAC-40 and
Frankfurt's DAX were all in negative territory, pulling
the global MSCI index down 0.4 percent. 
    U.S. stock index futures   were down,
indicating a lower open on Wall Street. Minutes of the U.S.
Federal Reserve's most recent meeting, due later on Wednesday,
will be scoured for clues on whether the central bank is gearing
up for more policy aid as early as its September meeting. 
    However, Europe's battle to overcome its debt problems
remains the focus for many global investors.
    Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, whose country could
face a messy bankruptcy without further aid, meets influential
policymakers this week and plans to lobby for more time to
implement unpopular austerity measures.
    He meets the head of the Eurogroup of euro zone finance
ministers, Jean-Claude Juncker, in Athens late on Wednesday
before travelling to Berlin on Friday to see German Chancellor
Angela Merkel and to Paris the next day to see French President
François Hollande. 
    Europe's shares are riding near 13-month highs, but some
analysts think the rise is unsustainable.
    "The recent rally in share prices has not at all been based
on the outlook for earnings - in fact completely the opposite.
It has been entirely built on hopes of large-scale ECB
intervention in euro zone periphery bond markets," said Tammo
Greetfeld, equity strategist at UniCredit in Munich.
    The ECB holds its next policy meeting on Sept. 6, the German
constitutional court rules on Sept. 12 on the euro zone's
permanent bailout fund, and European finance ministers meet on
Sept. 14 and 15.
    "We think the outcome of these factors, in combination with
the negative earning revisions, means the current rally will not
last and that equities markets will decline," he added.
    Crucial to the euro zone's hopes of breaking free of its
troubles are new bond buying plans being drawn up by the ECB,
which are set to be unveiled in September.
    Optimism over the plans lifted the euro to a seven-week high
against the dollar late on Tuesday, though investors took
profit on Wednesday and it traded down 0.2 percent at $1.2452.
    Bond markets also betrayed investors' nerves. Spanish bond
prices, which have risen steadily since late July on prospects
of ECB action, edged lower.
    Spanish 10-year yields, which move inversely
with prices, lifted off this week's 10-week low and were last up
1.4 basis points at 6.26 percent.
    Germany easily sold 5 billion euros of bonds despite paying
no interest.
   "The fact that it came at a zero rate still shows that
despite the improvement in risk appetite recently, investors are
still concerned (about the euro zone debt crisis)," RIA Capital
Markets strategist Nick Stamenkovic said.
    Oil dropped below $114 a barrel on Wednesday, with investors
on edge over Europe, though the market is underpinned by Middle
East tensions and their potential for supply disruption.
    "It's going to be fascinating after the ECB meeting to see
what direction the markets take; we've priced in a lot of the
good news already, so I certainly don't think we'll see it rally
(much), unless we get surprises on the upside," said Ben Le
Brun, a Sydney-based market analyst at OptionsXpress.