Consumers have been carrying the U.S. economy for the last three years, but their will to spend appears to be losing steam as the labor market continues to idle. While the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index shot up in January to its highest point since July 2002, consumers appear to be trimming their spending plans.
Confidence drops, stocks follow: Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan gave markets a shot in the arm midweek, hinting the Fed won't raise interest rates soon. The markets rose to a 32-month peak, but stocks dropped late week on mixed earnings reports by tech companies, a large hike in the trade deficit and a drop in the consumer confidence index. For the week, 33 AdMarket stocks were up, 16 were down and Grey Global Group was unchanged.
Media and agency stocks performed well, thanks to strong fourth quarter earnings from News Corp. and Comcast Corp.'s takeover run on Walt Disney Co. Publicis Groupe shares rose due to a strong revenue growth in the fourth quarter, while rival Havas dropped after reporting lower revenue.
Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 Index of 50 top publicly rated marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended Feb. 13, based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices Feb. 6. Full data available on Bloomberg terminals under index BAAX.