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Consumer staples, miners lift London's FTSE 100; Vodafone surges

07/23/2021 | 04:58am EDT

(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 1.0%.

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 offer.

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 Permanent TSB.

(Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Uttaresh.V, Shailesh Kuber and David Evans)


ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AVIVA PLC 1.20% 404.8 Delayed Quote.24.48%
BEAZLEY PLC -0.03% 389.9 Delayed Quote.6.94%
BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO PLC 0.73% 2677.5 Delayed Quote.-1.27%
DIAGEO PLC 0.46% 3500 Delayed Quote.21.54%
NATIONAL GRID PLC -1.19% 908.5 Delayed Quote.5.08%
NATWEST GROUP PLC 1.42% 220.7 Delayed Quote.31.64%
PERMANENT TSB GROUP HOLDINGS PLC -1.36% 1.45 Real-time Quote.70.53%
RECKITT BENCKISER GROUP PLC -1.21% 5782 Delayed Quote.-11.62%
ULTRA ELECTRONICS HOLDINGS PLC 0.19% 3248 Delayed Quote.56.76%
UNILEVER PLC -0.55% 3968 Delayed Quote.-9.72%
VODAFONE GROUP PLC 2.00% 116.08 Delayed Quote.-4.18%
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