STRONG SIGNAL: Radio-the first U.S. media sector to slow down, in December 2000-has recovered some ground in 2002, with eight straight months of year-over-year revenue growth. October ad sales showed a second month of double-digit growth, following a 17% increase in September. Analysts at Merrill Lynch & Co. project that, based on these numbers, radio sales will grow 11% for the fourth quarter and 6% for the year.
High unemployment, low hopes: A negative employment report capped a bad week in the markets, with the Treasury secretary and the top White House economic adviser joining the ranks of the unemployed. Unemployment shot up to 6% in November, spooking a market that was already reeling from an expected bankruptcy of United Airlines. Only 11 AdMarket stocks were up and 39 were down for the week.
Investors fled to the relative safety of blue-chip stocks, pushing up package-goods conglomerates while punishing agency and media stocks. Walt Disney Co. took a hit after it said the flop of its latest animated film would drag down results this quarter. Investors also did not appear sold on new plans presented by AOL Time Warner to stem losses at its America Online unit. (See story, P. 12.)
Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended Dec. 6 based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices Nov. 29.