Ad spending continued to show growth in January, thanks to a recovery among the print media, which had been hamstrung last year by the buildup leading to the war in Iraq. Newspapers and magazines showed healthy increases, especially newspapers, where the key classified advertising category has picked up in the first quarter. Network and spot TV slipped slightly, against a very strong year-ago period, while cable continued to grow. Business-to-business publications are still struggling, but the year-over-year drops continue to shrink. Industry observers expect the medium will turn positive this year, as businesses invest growing profits to take advantage of the economic recovery.
Earnings trump interest-rate fears: Comments from Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan hinting of an interest rate increase put the brakes on markets early in the week. But a spate a positive earnings reports, led by automakers Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp., helped markets regain their footing, boosted by a late-week report of strong durable-goods orders. For the week, 28 AdMarket stocks were up, 21 were down and Altria Group was unchanged.
Agency and media stocks were mixed in anticipation of earnings reports this week. Interpublic Group of Cos. rose 2.12%, helped by the end of its motor-sports foray (See The Week, P. 12). Viacom was nearly flat, up 0.52%, in spite of reporting double-digit increases in revenue and net income.
Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended April 23, based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices April 16. Full data available on Bloomberg terminals under index BAAX.