Reuters plans Square Mile search engine

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News group Reuters is working on a Square Mile Google to make digging up valuable data easier for City dealers.

Boss Tom Glocer is concentrating 'a lot of interest and focus on search and navigation' to follow up hit new products such as software that buys and sells shares after 'reading' news stories itself.

Best known for its news terminals that sit on dealers' desks, Reuters gets half of its income these days from funnelling dizzying amounts of information between supercomputers.

He said: 'We have got a Star Wars going on,' referring to the race to match reams of pricing data with electronic trading funds.

'Glocer likens the group to an 'arms merchant who can supply both the plumbing and the fuel to make that all work.'

Reuters (down 4½p to 431¼p) is forecasting underlying sales to rise by at least 6% in 2007, up from 4.8% in 2006.

Annual profits rose 32% to £313m as disposal gains offset £77m of investment in so-called «Core Plus» initiatives designed to carve out new revenue streams from areas such as credit derivatives and China.

The company is investing in the training of sports journalists there ahead of next year's Beijing Olympics. Sales lifted 6.5% to £2.6bn.

Glocer wants to lift margins, which have been depressed by the spending, from 14% to as high as 20%.

Some investors had hoped for a bigger cash windfall and were disappointed by the pledge to buy back only an extra £150m of shares.

With just £333m of debt, the group has more than enough headroom for significant acquisitions.

Reuters is outperforming rival Thomson Financial and 'either held share or gained' against news screen rival Bloomberg last year. The dividend was up 10% to 11p.

Source: DAILY MAIL

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