BERLIN - Investor morale in the euro zone improved for the fourth month in a row in February to reach its highest level since March 2022, but remained in negative territory as the possibility of a stagnant economy comes into focus, a survey showed on Monday.

Sentix's index for the euro zone rose to -8.0 points for February from -17.5 in January, beating analysts' expectations of a reading of -12.8.

"The increase of 9.5 points signals that a recession is off the table for the time being. Instead, the scenario of stagnation is gaining in contour" as the absence of an energy crisis and rosy corporate news contribute to a turnaround, Sentix Managing Director Patrick Hussy said in a statement.

An expectations index rose to -6.0 from -15.8 in January, hitting its highest level since last February, while an index on the current situation also rose, to -10.0 from -19.3.

Hussy said that at economic turning points, the expectations index normally turns positive faster than the current situation index, which has not been the case so far: "Investors expect the status quo of the economy to be maintained to some extent."

The poll of 1,317 investors was conducted between Feb. 2-4, Sentix said.

(Reporting by Miranda Murray Editing by Paul Carrel)