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Apr 21, 6:28 AM EDT

German investor sentiment edges down on global fears

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- German investor optimism unexpectedly fell in April after five months of increases due to fears about the global economy.

The ZEW research institute's index eased to 53.3 points from 54.8 points in March. Analysts had expected 55.3

Germany's economy is heavily dependent on exporting cars and industrial machinery. The economy grew by a relatively strong 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous quarter.

ZEW President Clemens Fuest said Germany's low unemployment was keeping domestic expectations strong. He said in a statement that "the German economy is in good shape."

But he added that "the current weakness of the world economy is dampening export prospects."

The index remains above its long-term average of 24.8 points.

The index was based on responses of 238 investment analysts April 7-20.

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