Investment sentiment in Germany rose in October, a survey found on Tuesday, in a new sign of strength in the biggest eurozone economy and as actors on financial markets shrugged off the US debt ceiling battle.
The widely watched investor confidence index calculated by the ZEW economic institute rose 3.2 points to 52.8 points, beating a forecast by analysts who said it would stay flat.
It was the highest level since April 2010, as it was in September when the index reached 49.6.
"The financial market experts remain optimistic," said ZEW president Clemens Fuest in a statement.
He added that "at present a greater impact of the debate on the debt ceiling in the USA is not visible", referring to the battle that has sparked a partial federal government shutdown.
Berenberg Bank's Holger Schmieding said that "despite the US fiscal turmoil, the eurozone remains on track for a gradually strengthening upswing. While Germany remains in the lead, the euro periphery is starting to gradually catch up."
For the survey, ZEW questioned 237 analysts and institutional investors about whether they are optimistic or pessimistic regarding the economic situation in Germany.
They were asked about the current situation, as well as about the six-month outlook.
The sub-index measuring financial market players' view of the current economic situation slightly worsened, dropping 0.9 points to 29.7 points.
A separate index measuring expectations for the eurozone rose marginally, by 0.5 points to 59.1 points.
The rise meant that "confidence is back to where it was before the Greek crisis erupted four years ago," said Schmieding.
Analyst Annalisa Piazza of Newedge Strategy said the uptick for Germany in October came "on the back of continuous support by policymakers and some encouraging news coming from business confidence indicators" across the major eurozone countries.
"That said, uncertainties weighing on equities seem to have put a lid on rising confidence in October as some market indicators have started to price in risks of default of the US debt that -- even if very unlikely -- certainly limits the upside movement in sentiment."
A frequent criticism of the ZEW index is that it can be volatile and is therefore not particularly reliable.
Berenberg Bank's Schmieding said "the level of the ZEW does not reliably predict the pace of economic growth. However, the ZEW tends to signal economic turning points some four to six months ahead."
He said that, "despite a little wobble from April to July" this year, the ZEW had trended up firmly since October 2012, and that the German economy returned to solid growth in the second quarter of this year.
"For what it’s worth, investor sentiment projects an ongoing solid economic recovery for Germany," he said.
"That investor sentiment is now more positive for the eurozone than for Germany signals clearly that the gap between a fairly strong Germany and a still restrained pace of growth in the euro periphery will likely narrow over coming quarters."