Ifo institute survey rises in sign of brighter outlook for Europe's largest economy

A key measure of German business optimism rose slightly more than expected in December in a modestly upbeat sign for Europe's largest economy.

The Ifo institute said Wednesday that its main index rose to 102.4 from 101.4 the month before. The consensus expectation among market analysts was 102.0

The survey is a leading indicator, suggesting where the economy may be going in the months ahead. It's based on a poll of 7,000 business executives about how they see things now and six months from now.

The German economy grew only a modest 0.2 percent in the third quarter, down from 0.3 percent the quarter before, but many economists think it will skirt a recession before growth improves next year.