Bottom Line: Putting the world to Reuters

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REUTERS Holdings continues to justify the analysts' advice, which ranges from 'a safe hold' to 'fill your boots'.

Yesterday saw Peter Job, Reuters' chief executive, offer an explanation of the various acquisitions it has made over the past year or so, providing a reassuring insight into a sometimes opaque strategy.

Reuters is a consummate niche player and continues to exploit its strengths. It knows it has several years before the technological explosion which has driven its core dealing and financial information markets comes to an end.

In the meantime, it is enhancing those areas where it is already strong, such as equities and foreign exchange dealing, through acquisitions such as Quotron, while at the same time building up expertise in allied sectors.

It is experimenting with television for example, both mainstream - witness its acquisition of 18 per cent of ITN - and futuristic. Its new financial service, which should be launched soon, will bring video quality images on to dealing screens.

Traders will be able to glance at a screen with 'windows' providing both near-television standard images of live events and normal financial dealing information.

The scope is not only for an exciting new dealing products but also in the longer term for gaining expertise in an area - television quality images displayed on computer screens with interactive potential - that could be very important indeed.

All of which should comfort shareholders who might otherwise have wondered whether, at 27 times historic earnings, the price was looking a little peaky, and who know that lack of liquidity makes Reuters shares vulnerable to big price falls on adverse news. Fortunately the forthcoming share split will help with that problem as well.