The Ad Market

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Turn Signals

The Conference Board's Help Wanted Index-a strong indicator of the health of the job market and the newspaper industry-stayed put in July, after increasing three points in June. Economists say that is a good sign, both for the economy-unemployment may be bottoming out-and for newspapers, which earn revenue from employment ads. The August help-wanted index comes out Sept. 25.

The jobs picture is mixed. The August unemployment rate dropped to 6.1% from July's 6.2% and June's nine-year high of 6.4%. But the number of people working continued to fall in July and August, indicating many unemployed people have dropped out of the labor market.

AdMarket 50

High time: The AdMarket 50 on Sept. 18 hit its high point of the year, up 28.6% from a March low. It's still 29.2% off the peak reached in July 2000. Investors continue to bet on recovery, though the Federal Reserve, in leaving interest rates unchanged last week, voiced caution. For the week, 37 AdMarket stocks were up; 13 were down. The only double-digit loser: Havas, down 12.6% on a big loss and restructuring.

Nike jumped 10.5% on strong earnings, and AOL Time Warner, which is jettisoning AOL from its name, rose 1.3%; it's down 65.6% from the day America Online bought Time Warner in January 2001.

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended Sept. 19 based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices Sept. 12. Full data available on Bloomberg terminals under index BAAX.

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