By Steve Slater LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland posted a surprise 1 billion pound ($1.7 billion) pretax profit for the second quarter thanks to a turnaround in losses from bad loans, prompting it to release earnings a week early. It sent RBS shares soaring by 14 percent to 376 pence, on course for their biggest one-day gain since April 2009 and boosting chances of the taxpayer recouping what it invested - though maybe not for several more years because the price is still 25 percent below what the state paid. RBS said the profit was mainly because of an economic upturn that allowed it to write back losses that had been booked on bad loans, giving it a net release of 93 million pounds. 'STRONGER BANK' RBS said it was obliged to release headline numbers early because they were far better than market expectations.
The crises in Ukraine and the Middle East are eroding business confidence in Germany, a key indicator showed on Friday, amid signs that global turmoil could derail European recovery. Since the downing of a passenger plane over eastern Ukraine last week, however, calls have mounted for the European Union to take a firmer line against Russia for its support of insurgents in the crisis region.