(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock
markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)
* Vodafone jumps on strong earnings
* UK retail sales gain in June
* Beazley, Ultra Electronics push mid-caps higher
* FTSE 100 up 0.9%, FTSE 250 adds 0.9%
July 23 (Reuters) - The FTSE 100 index ended higher on
Friday, led by gains in consumer staples and a jump in Vodafone
shares on strong results, while Ultra Electronics surged on a
takeover bid from aerospace manufacturer Cobham.
The blue-chip index ended 0.9% higher, with consumer
staples and miners leading gains. The index inched 0.3% higher
this week, rebounding from an initial dip as concerns around
slowing global economic recovery and surging Delta variant of
the coronavirus caused a sell-off.
"Towards the end of last week and on Monday, the market saw
a three day sell off, and now we've recovered, that's all driven
by a recovery in U.S markets and corporate earnings," said Keith
Temperton, equity sales trader at Forte Securities.
Mobile operator Vodafone jumped 2.4% and was among
the largest gainers on the FTSE 100 after it reported a
better-than-expected 3.3% rise in first-quarter service revenue.
"We're about to go into the biggest earnings season next
week and everyone is anticipating more solid earnings as some of
the major names are reporting," Temperton added.
Aiding sentiment was a jump in British retail sales in June,
which sent shares of retail stocks up by nearly
The FTSE 100 has gained 8.7% so far this year led by dovish
central bank policies and government stimulus, but has
underperformed its wider European and local mid-cap peers due to
inflation concerns and rising coronavirus infections.
Dollar-earning consumer staples stocks, including Unilever
, Reckitt Benckiser Group, British American
Tobacco and Diageo Plc were among top gainers
on weaker pound.
The domestically focussed mid-cap index rose 0.9% on
strong earnings updates from insurer Beazley, while Ultra
Electronics was the top gainer on Cobham's takeover
However, Britain's rapid economic bounce-back from the
pandemic slowed sharply in July as a new wave of cases forced
hundreds of thousands of workers to self-isolate under
government rules to limit the spread of the disease.
Among other stocks, Britain's NatWest Group rose
2.5% after it agreed to sell assets from its Irish arm to
(Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by
Uttaresh.V, Shailesh Kuber and David Evans)