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German investor confidence up more than expected

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- A German index of economic optimism among investors rose more than expected in September, underlining stronger growth prospects in Europe's largest economy.

The ZEW index rose to 49.6 points from 42 in August. Market analysts had expected an increase to 45.

The head of the ZEW think tank, Clemens Fuest, said Tuesday in a statement that "the financial market experts hold the view that the German economy is still gaining momentum."

Fuest said optimism rose due to improved prospects for the 17 countries that use the euro. A crisis over high public debt has eased in the past year as market fears of a government default have ebbed. The eurozone returned to modest growth of 0.3 percent in the second quarter. Germany had a more robust expansion at 0.7 percent.