AdWatch

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Turn Signals

Employment in advertising agencies dropped to 426,100 in May, down 0.2% from April's total. Total employment in the industry-including advertising, public relations, media buying and direct marketing agencies-is 1.6% below the same period last year. The industry continues to battle doubts among corporations about the resilience of the economic recovery, which is keeping a lid on marketing expenses and on the agencies' potential for adding staff.

Admarket 50

DOWN TIME: The AdMarket 50 closed the week at a 2004 low as mixed earnings reports canceled out an optimistic economic forecast by Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan. A dozen stocks rose for the week; 38 dropped.

Viacom moved up as CEO Sumner Redstone gave some plan for succession; co-Chief Operating Officers Tom Freston and Leslie Moonves signed employment contracts saying one or both will succeed their 81-year-old boss by the end of 2007. Microsoft advanced on the news it will use its cash hoard for dividends and a stock buyback. Coca-Cola Co. dropped nearly 11% on concerns about weak international volume. AT&T Corp. approached its lowest point in decades the day after it announced a retrenchment from the consumer market. Digitas fell more than 12% as investors digested its pending acquisition of Modem Media.

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended July 23 based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices July 16. Full data available on Bloomberg terminals under index BAAX.

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