The Gold behind the Plastic

Credit-card companies may be hurting, but the businesses that handle their transactions are the darlings of the Street

With retailers feeling the pinch of a cooling economy, shares of Concord EFS (CEFT ) might have been expected to flag. Instead, the stock of the Memphis-based company, which processes electronic transactions made with plastic at gas stations, ATMs, and supermarkets, has risen to the $50 range. That's up more than 60% since September, when the stock was around $30.

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