BERLIN (Reuters) - Euro zone sentiment brightened in August as data pointed to an economic recovery in some struggling euro zone states, a survey showed on Monday.
Sentix research group said its index tracking investor sentiment in the 17-nation bloc rose to -4.9 in August, its second highest level this year, from -12.6 in July. That beat the consensus forecast in a Reuters poll for a reading of -10.0.
"The weakness we saw in forward-looking indicators in the euro zone in the spring is history now. The dynamic improvement in the economic index for the euro zone shows the old continent is staging a comeback," Sentix said in a statement.
"Signs of economic recovery in France and some southern European countries are convincing investors ... and the improvement was also probably due in part to the Fed rowing back," it added.
In France consumer confidence has risen and the outlook for the manufacturing sector there has improved while in Spain unemployment has fallen and in Portugal business morale has picked up.
Those improvements were reflected in a sub-index of euro zone expectations, which surged to 14.3 in August from 7.3 the previous month.
In June, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank would probably start to ease its current round of bond purchases later this year, with an eye toward stopping them altogether by the middle of 2014.
The index on Germany increased to 20.3 in August from 18.4 the previous month, making it a "pillar of strength", Sentix said.
Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Noah Barkin