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German companies more cautious, business confidence slips a little more than expected

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, speaks as she sits between German Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, left, and Peter Altmaier, Head of the Federal Chancellery, right, at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, speaks as she sits between German Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, left, and Peter Altmaier, Head of the Federal Chancellery, right, at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

BERLIN - A closely watched survey shows that German business confidence has dipped, with companies less optimistic about both their current situation and the outlook for the next six months.

The Ifo institute said Friday that its confidence index — a key indicator for Europe's biggest economy — slipped to 110.4 points this month from 111.2 in April. That's a slightly bigger decline than the dip to 110.9 that economists had predicted.

The index rebounded last month after previously slipping amid fears about the possible economic impact of the crisis in Ukraine. On Friday, the Ifo said manufacturers "continue to expect stronger impulses from exports."

The Ifo's survey is based on monthly responses from about 7,000 companies.

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