The Conference Board's Help Wanted Index-a strong indicator of the health of the job market and the newspaper industry-dropped slightly in August to 37, from 38 in June and July. Economists say stable numbers are a good sign, both for the economy-meaning unemployment may be bottoming out-and for newspapers, which earn significant ad revenue from employment advertising.
Markets fall flat: The stock market started the week hitting its highest point since 2002, thanks to improving consumer confidence and economic indicators. But investors were worried late in the week about glum outlooks from companies including eBay and Sun Microsystems and rushed to cash in their gains, leaving the indices flat. For the week, 29 AdMarket stocks were up, 21 were down.
Print media companies had a good week, while broadcasters suffered on reports of weak fourth-quarter network scatter sales and a flat August revenue report from the Radio Advertising Bureau. Newspapers got a boost with improved earnings reports from New York Times Co. and Tribune Co., while the appointment of a new CEO helped lift Primedia.
Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended Oct 17, based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices Oct 10. Full data available on Bloomberg terminals under index BAAX.