TAKING STOCK

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The Independent Online
Shares of Boustead, with modest cleaning operations, will be suspended on Monday because it is regarded as a cash shell. Sir Thomas Macpherson, the chairman, complains the halt is not in "the best interest of the market, the company or the shareholders". After selling most of its interests Boustead is searching for acquisitions. The shares fell 0.5p to 16.5p.

Flare, a ceramics group, held at 139.5p. Australian David Lees, the chief executive, has met institutional investors this week. He is expanding the company with Ian Gowrie Smith, another Australian who was behind Medeva and is now developing SkyePharma. Stockbroker Greig Middleton believes Flare's profits will climb from pounds 800,000 to pounds 3m this year and pounds 5m next. It forecasts a 1p dividend this year.

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