LONDON (The Deal) -- European markets were mixed Thursday morning, as the German motor exhaust cheating scandal continues to pollute the markets. Traders are also waiting to see what Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has to say about interest rates at a speech this evening, as the Fed is still widely thought likely to raise borrowing costs at its December meeting.

Meanwhile, both Norway and Taiwan have unexpectedly cut interest rates adding to the confusion on the currency markets. But at least the widely respected German IFO Institute index of business confidence has created a small break in the diesel-infected gloom by pointing to an increase in German business confidence from 108.3 in August to 108.5 in September. It may have been taken before the Volkswagen (VLKAF) scandal broke, however.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.1% at 6,026.07 in late morning London time, while in Paris the CAC40 was down 0.32% at 4,418.67. In Frankfurt, amid fears of falling German car exports, the DAX was off 0.61% at 9,554.09.

Volkswagen has been skidding around this morning following last night's resignation of CEO Martin Winterkorn. So far this morning the share has been in positive territory, fluctuating between €121.65 and €126.0, compared with last night's closing price of €122.00. But over at Volkswagen's premium competitor Bayerische Motoren Werke, better known as BMW, the share has hit a mid-morning pothole, dipping suddenly from a high of €82.21 to €73.74, down 7.83% on Wednesday's close. Mercedes-maker Daimler is also off 3.73% at €64.03.

In London, discount retailer Poundland Group was down 6.43% at 289.7 pence on the announcement of a £50 million ($76.3 million) share placing to help pay for its recent £55 million acquisition of rival 99p Stores. Poundland also revealed that like for like sales at its stores fell 2.9% in the first half of the year, after rising 4.7% in the first half of 2014.

In Dublin, budget airline Ryanair Holdings (RYAAY) - Get Report was down 1.12% at €13.63, despite announcing a move to distribute €398 million ($446 million) of the proceeds from its sale of its 29.8% stake in Aer Lingus to shareholders.

In Japan, after a three-day holiday, the Nikkei 225 ended its first day of trading off 2.76% at 17,571.83 while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng dropped 0.97% to finish at 21,095.98. But in China, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.86% at 3,142.69. 

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