The clothing retailer put on 7.4pc as the group unveiled a 4.5pc increase in first-half sales , exceeding analysts' expectations and sending Next straight to the top of the FTSE 100 (Euronext: VFTSE.NX - news) .
Strong earnings overall helped London's benchmark index climb higher, reversing the fall the index suffered yesterday when the blue chips ended a three-day run of gains after comments from Germany dampened hopes for further stimulus. The FTSE 100 rose 0.4pc, shrugging off poor UK manufacturing data, while the FTSE 250 (FTSE: ^FTMC - news) put on 0.2pc this morning.
Standard Chartered (Xetra: 859123 - news) , the lender which focuses on Asia, was another group that impressed the market with its numbers. The bank announced a 9pc increase in first-half pre-tax profits, which totalled $3.95bn, and the shares added 5.2pc.
"Following its strong outperformance over the past month or so, Standard Chartered is no longer our top pick in the sector, with Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) , in particular, offering greater upside. However, its momentum is strong and fundamental long-term attractions remain intact for those without the stomach for investing in cheap UK domestic banks. It remains our preferred UK Asian play," Investec (Frankfurt: A0J32R - news) analyst Ian Gordon said.
Towards the other end of the FTSE 100, shares in Costa Coffee owner Whitbread (Other OTC: WTBCF.PK - news) lost 1.8pc as UBS (NYSEArca: DJCI - news) analyst Jonathan Leinster cut his recommendation to "neutral" from "buy". He expects it to have been a difficult trading environment in June, because of the extended Bank Holiday for the Diamond Jubilee and the bad weather.
Among the mid-caps, investors were piling into Rightmove (LSE: RMV.L - news) , which climbed 13.3pc. The group reported a 35pc jump in first-half pre-tax profits, which beat estimates and was driven by an increase in advertising revenue. Peel Hunt analyst Malcolm Morgan was impressed by the numbers and said: "we sense upgrades to come and therefore place the stock under review".