Markets: Up

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The Independent Online
COMPASS GROUP, the caterer that owns the Upper Crust sandwich bars, saw its shares rise 16.7 per cent last week to a record 1,269 pence after it announced first-half profit rose 17 per cent benefiting from new contracts and improved margins. Pre-tax profit climbed to pounds 67.8m from pounds 56.4m.

Chief executive Francis Mackay said worldwide market conditions are "favourable and prospects for long-term growth remain good".

"They quietly beat our forecast," said Fraser Ramzan, an analyst at Lehman Brothers, who has a "buy" recommendation on the stock. "The key surprise is the level of margin expansion." Compass spent around pounds 1bn last year on acquisitions and is now focusing on profitability.

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