European markets were mixed this morning, with London pulled up by its banks and strong economic figures, Germany and Russia pulled down by the Ukraine crisis and Paris hit partly by very poor figures from the luxury goods giant LVMH, maker of Louis Vuitton handbags. Britain’s Royal Bank of Scotland Group rose over 13% on unexpectedly strong first half profits and lower impairments on bad loans and a much reduced cost for managing its bad bank. Rival Lloyds Banking Group said it was in late stage talks with regulators over possible heavy fines for past interest rate manipulation, but the stock rose anyway on the back of the Royal Bank euphoria. British construction and infrastructure groups Carillion and Balfour Beatty said they were in merger talks to create a $5 billion company. British Sky Broadcasting could pay Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox up to $12.5 billion for its sister companies in Germany and Italy.

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