SOLID GAINS: The German economy, Europe's largest, shrank by just 0.2 percent in the final three months of 2011 and grew by a solid 3 percent for the year as a whole.

FAVORABLE TREND: The Federal Statistical Office also revised up third-quarter growth to 0.6 percent from 0.5 percent.

RISING HOPES: Combined with an unexpected increase in the French economy, there are hopes that the 17-nation eurozone economy may not have contracted as much as the 0.4 percent anticipated.