German investor confidence inches higher but Greece, Ukraine concerns hold back sentiment

BERLIN – A survey is showing a smaller-than-expected rise in German investor confidence as concerns over Greece’s debt crisis and the conflict in Ukraine hold back sentiment.

The ZEW institute said Tuesday that its monthly confidence index, which measures investors’ economic outlook for the next half-year, crept up to 54.8 points for March from 53 in February. That’s a 13-month high but is below economists’ forecast of an increase to 60.

The German economy, Europe’s biggest, is in robust shape and Frankfurt’s DAX index of blue chip stocks has hit a string of record highs in recent weeks.

However, ZEW president Clemens Fuest said that a lack of progress in resolving the Greek crisis and the Ukrainian conflict “has a dampening effect on sentiment.”