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Employment in advertising agencies dropped to 426,700 in April down 0.4% from March's total. Total employment in the industry-including advertising, public relations, media buying and direct marketing agencies-is 1.8% below the same period last year. The numbers are expected to improve this year, as most agency holding companies complete their restructurings and new business picks up, but agencies continue to hold the line on hiring in the short term.

Admarket 50

Stocks tread water: Markets were relatively quiet, as Wall Street awaited a batch of economic reports and a meeting of the Federal Reserve Board this week

Agency and media stocks sank in spite of rosy spending forecasts for the year (See AdWatch story, P. 31). Radio station owners were particularly affected by a series of brokerage reports downgrading the sector; Viacom dropped despite good reaction to its plan to spin off its Blockbuster video chain.

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended June 18, based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices June 11. Full data available on Bloomberg terminals under index BAAX.

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