The Ad Market

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Turn Signals

As the holiday shopping season gets underway, consumers plan to spend slightly less than last year-after a post 9/11 surge in 2001-but their spirits seem improved.

Consumers' outlooks have improved in the last month. With consumer spending making up two-thirds of the economy, that's encouraging news for the recovery.

AdMarket 50

Taking a break: For the week ending Nov. 29, 2002, AdMarket stocks saw little activity, in keeping with the relaxed pace of business during the holiday period: they were up by less than 1%. Thirty-three AdMarket stocks were up while 17 were down.

WPP Group entered the AdMarket winner's circle, despite having its credit rating downgraded by Fitch Ratings in London on Thanksgiving Day. According to reports, Fitch dropped WPP's rating to BBB+ from A- due to worries that the holding company may have difficulties repaying its debts. Fitch said that WPP has been putting pressure on its cash flow after making 50 acquisitions in the past two years, including that of Young & Rubicam for $4.7 billion in stock. Fitch indicated it may slam WPP's credit rating again. Nonetheless, WPP rose 7%, to $41.62 . Havas also rose 14% to $5.54.

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended Nov. 29 based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices Nov. 22.

- richard linnett

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