AdWatch

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Turnsignals

First-half U.S. measured ad spending rose 4.5% to $70.57 billion, according to TNS Media Intelligence, beating TNS's 4.1% forecast. All media types grew except for spot TV and network radio. Cable TV jumped 15.3%, the strongest growth among national media. TNS said third-quarter comparisons will be harder since last year had gains from the Olympics and elections. TNS rival Nielsen Monitor-Plus said first-half spending grew 5.7%.

Focus on: Aegis Group (London: AGS)

Aegis hit a three-year high of 128.75p ($2.29) in August after French financier and Havas Chairman Vincent Bollore revealed he owned a 6% stake. The U.K. media-buying and research firm- parent of Carat and Synovate-is the subject of takeover talk, but a deal wouldn't be cheap. Aegis ('04 rev.: $1.37 billion) has a market cap of $2.4 billion, well above the $1.75 billion WPP paid for Grey Global (est. '04 rev: $1.46 billion). Aegis trades far below its 2000 bubble peak of 263p.

Chart in British pence. 1. Currrent price/estimated '05 earnings per share. 2. Market cap plus debt minus cash. 3. 2004 Source: Bloomberg, company reports, Ad Age analysis

Last Week's Score

Stocks rose as oil prices slipped from all-time highs and investors bet the Fed would hold interest rates steady; 41 of 50 AdMarket stocks saw gains.

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 tracks 50 top marketer, media and agency companies. Bloomberg symbol: BAAX

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