AdWatch

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Turn Signals

The ad industry continues to show new business improvement, with fewer, but larger accounts changing hands. Twenty-nine accounts changed agencies, down 19% from 36 a year ago, and they added up to $1.2 billion in billings, up 17% from $1 billion last year. More importantly, net new business totals are up, which hints that the account action is including more new spending-such as new product launches-rather than just account churn. The acquisition of Grey Global Group by WPP Group may shake loose more business.

Admarket 50

Oil prices run down markets: Rising oil prices and a few high-profile earnings warnings from the likes of Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive Co. took the stock markets down early in the week and a drop in August durable good orders-an indicator of businesses' capital spending-made things worse late in the week. For the week, 12 AdMarket stocks were up and 38 were down.

The economic news hit advertising and media stocks. New York Times Co. was down 4.34% after announcing third-quarter earnings will fall below expectations. Havas rose after a key investor disclosed he had increased his stake (see The Week, P. 28) and Primedia rose after announcing it will look to sell its textbook publishing division.

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended Sept. 24, based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices Sept. 17. Full data available on Bloomberg terminals under index BAAX.

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