U.S. measured ad spending rose a tepid 3% but hit a record $143 billion in 2005. Growth was far below the Feb. '05 TNS forecast of 5.1% but close to its 3.4% revised forecast last June. Ad spending growth (decline) in recent years: +13.3% in 2000; -9.8% in '01; +4.2% in '02; +6.1% in '03; +9.8% in '04. TNS predicts a 5.4% gain in '06.
Focus on: HOUSING STOCKS AND HOUSING STOCK
Home sales slumped in January as the unsold supply of new and existing homes hit the highest levels since the '90s. The Bloomberg home-builder stock index rocketed 710% from 2000 to its July '05 peak; it's fallen by nearly a fifth (19%) since then.
Last week's score
Publicis, posting strong profits, Friday hit its highest point since U.S. trading began in 2000. Consumer confidence fell below Aug. '05 levels.