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Account activity continues to pick up, but that doesn't mean billings are going up as well. Seventy-four accounts worth $1.9 billion were awarded in April, up from 33 accounts worth $955 million a year ago, but they were mainly changing partners. Net new business among the large holding companies was still a measly $72 million. The shift of Reckitt Benckiser billings put Havas Advertising and Interpublic Group of Cos. at opposite ends of the tally. Interpublic parted with Reckitt because of a conflict.

Billings action in April in millions

Holding company Won Lost Net

Havas $215 $8 $207

WPP $289 $143 $146

Omnicom $342 $213 $129

Grey Global $121 $0 $121

Publicis* $150 $206 ($56)

Cordiant $5 $184 ($179)

Interpublic $264 $560 ($296)

Total $1,386 $1,314 $72

Dude, you're getting a rally: Dell Computer Corp.'s strong earnings and improved numbers for consumer confidence released May 17 kept a weeklong rally from collapsing into another selloff. Dell's results helped cement a tech stock upswing that led the Nasdaq to its best week in over a year. The University of Michigan consumer confidence survey climbed to its highest level since December 2000, boosting Wall Street's faith in the recovery. Only nine AdMarket stocks were down, 40 were up and Univision was unchanged.

Bargain hunters pushed up battered media stocks such as AOL Time Warner and Yahoo!, and investors found new faith in tech stocks such as Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. Even agencies performed: Grey Global Group hit a new all-time high of $826. Current market cap on Grey for interested suitors: $1 billion.

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketers, agency and media companies for the week ended May 17 based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are based on closing prices May 10.

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