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Employment in advertising agencies showed a 1.2% year-over-year decrease in August. Total employment in the industry-including advertising, public relations, media buying and direct marketing agencies-dropped to 422,200. That's 0.7% below July's number, which had initially been up year-over-year, but was revised downward. Industry employment has been down year-over-year since April 2001 and totals are at their lowest level since the fall of 1996, in spite of the increases in ad spending among marketers.

Admarket 50

Oil prices dog stocks: After a slow start on the Columbus Day holiday, a record oil price of $54 a barrel sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average below the 10,000 mark midweek. A drop in consumer confidence capped the week's losses, in spite of good September retail sales. For the week, 22 AdMarket 50 stocks were up, 27 were down and Microsoft Corp. was unchanged.

Speculation about the future of Havas helped the French company's U.S. shares (See Late News, P. 2), while newspaper companies were mixed; most reported improved results, but analysts questioned the strength of ad increases and federal regulators began a circulation probe. (See The Week, P. 20.) Fast-feeders rose on reports of strong fast-food sales.

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended Oct. 15, based on stock-trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial-news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices Oct. 8. Full data available on Bloomberg terminals under index BAAX.

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