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The new-business picture continues to improve among ad agencies, with less account churn and larger accounts changing hands. Eighteen accounts changed agencies in September, down 18% from 34 a year ago, and they added up to $1 billion in billings, flat from the same month last year. The acquisition of Grey Global Group by WPP Group may shake loose more business, as well as possible changes at Havas. The continuing economic recovery and an upswing in merger and acquisition activity among marketers may also spur more account changes in coming months.

Admarket 50

Another week, another oil spike: Oil prices hit $55 per barrel and the markets reacted as usual; the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped to the lowest level of the year. For the week, 18 stocks were up, 31 were down and fast-feeder Yum Brands was unchanged.

Digitas rose after it closed its acquisition of Modem Media and posted a 125.6% increase in third-quarter net income. Modem's former part owner, Interpublic Group of Cos., also rose in anticipation of its earnings release Nov. 3, while Havas dropped after financier Vincent Bollore said he didn't plan to seek control of the agency company. Meredith Corp. dropped after being downgraded by Merrill Lynch & Co. and News Corp. slipped on news of a lawsuit against its plan to restructure DirecTV Latin America.

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended Oct. 22, based on stock-trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices Oct. 15. Full data available on Bloomberg terminals under index BAAX.

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