The Ad Market

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YIELD SIGN: President Bush wants to make dividends tax-free, so where to cash in? Among the AdMarket 50, 39 companies pay dividends-including 23 of 25 marketers. Marketers also have the biggest yields; Philip Morris Cos., its share price depressed by tobacco overhang, pays 6.3%. Six of eight agencies pay dividends, though yields are lower. Media companies are less likely to pay-in large part because many have huge debt loads to support. Just 10 of 17 media companies send out dividend checks. Average yields for AdMarket 50 stocks that pay dividends: 2.2% for marketers, 1.5% for agencies, 1.3% for media.

Source: Advertising Age analysis of Bloomberg data

AdMarket 50

Happy new year: The first full week of trading in 2003 got off to a good start in spite of reports of a weak holiday retail season, rising tensions with North Korea and rising unemployment. Pundits credited the rally to portfolio managers rebalancing their holdings for the new year. For the week, 38 AdMarket stocks were up and 12 were down.

A number of dogs in the AdMarket performed significantly better last week as bargain hunters sought out underpriced stocks. AOL Time Warner got a boost despite reports the company will announce a $10 billion-plus charge (See P. 20).

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