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



(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% (Updates to close)

By Shashank Nayar and Amal S

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 .FTSE 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 VOD.L 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 .FTNMX404010 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 ULVR.L , Reckitt Benckiser Group RB.L , British American Tobacco BATS.L and Diageo Plc DGE.L were among top gainers on weaker pound.

The domestically focussed mid-cap index .FTMC 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 NWG.L rose 2.5% after it agreed to sell assets from its Irish arm to Permanent TSB IL0A.I .



Retailers outperform FTSE 100 since mid-July as easing lockdown
spur demand Link



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



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