- The FTSE 100 made strong progress on Wednesday, up 0.8% to 7,087.56 supported by weakness in sterling.

Next climbed 2.7% to £82.92, having swung to a first-half profit and upgraded its annual guidance, as its sales come roaring back following a subsidence of lockdowns.

Next's pre-tax profit for the six months through July amounted to £346.7 million, as revenue jumped 59%, and it increased its profit forecast for the full year to £800 million.

Power utility SSE shed 0.7% to £15.84 after announcing that it had agreed to form a joint venture with Pacifico Energy to pursue offshore wind developments in Japan.

The pact involved the acquisition by SSE of 80% of an offshore wind development platform from the Japanese company for $208 million.

Airport food and beverage group SSP shed 3.2% to 280.4p, even as it announced that it had achieved positive earnings in the fourth quarter of its financial year amid a recovery in the travel sector.

Still, SSP said its outlook remained uncertain and it forecast a slightly slower recovery in sales during the 2022 financial year.

Wealth manager Abrdn rose 0.4% to 251.2p after it sold more of its shares in Indian group HDFC Asset Management, for about £268 million.

Abrdn's remaining 16.22% shareholding in HDFC continued to provide it with the right to nominate a director to the board.

Fashion retailer Quiz tumbled 22% to 9.05p, having posted a deeper underlying annual loss for the year through March after sales were pummelled by pandemic lockdowns.

Quiz said it had seen a gradual improvement in sales since the removal of restrictions on large-scale social events, with performance approaching pre-pandemic levels on a like-for-like basis.

Restaurant group Fulham Shore, owner of the Franco Manca and The Real Greek chains, gained 4.1% to 19p on announcing that it performed ahead of management's expectations amid 'strong' first-half revenue growth.

Specialist leather group Pittards firmed 1.7% to 66.1p after it swung to a full-year profit as sales recover post-lockdowns. Pittards reinstated its interim dividend at 0.5p per share.

Video-games producer Sumo, which recently agreed to be acquired by China's Tencent, edged up less than 0.1% to 487.22, having posted a 33% rise in profit as the pandemic continued to drive demand for home-based leisure pursuits.

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