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) -- Investor confidence in the U.S. rose 8 points in December while European investor worries continued to grow.

According to the

State Street (STT) Investor Confidence Index,

-- which measures the buying and selling patterns of institutional investors - investor confidence rose in North America (7.7 points to 103.1 from 95.4) and Asia (7.4 points, from 95.5 to 102.9).

During the same month European investor confidence decreased 10.8 points, to 99 from 109.8, mainly due to sovereign debt woes, the report states.

"This month the confidence of institutional investors has continued its late-year improvement. Clearly, the scenario for moderated world growth with recovery in the U.S. has increasingly gained traction," said Harvard University professor Kenneth Froot, one of the developers of the index.

"European investors are back again worrying that high sovereign indebtedness may prove destabilizing for the region," added Paul O'Connell of State Street Associates.

The State Street Investor Confidence Index was created in 2003 as a way to measure the "risk tolerance" of global institutional investors.

--Written by Maria Woehr in New York.

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