Advertisers say their actions in wartime will depend on consumers' attitudes. So far, 76% of consumers polled say they're being careful about their spending in the next three months and 41% say they plan to spend less than usual during that time. Big-ticket items top the list of cutbacks.
War rally pauses: The markets were on edge as U.S. troops approached Baghdad. Lower oil prices gave some hope, but fears of bloody street fighting dampened investors' spirits. The war news overshadowed a disappointing jobs report and news that the service sector-two-thirds of U.S. economic output-shrank in March. For the week, 31 AdMarket stocks were up and 19 were down.
Media and agency companies gained, led by WPP Group, as fears of a wartime media meltdown faded and the first 2002 annual reports filed showed no surprises. (See story, top right.) But telecoms dropped based on weak economic data and investors dumped shares of Altria Group. Altria, the former Philip Morris Cos., said it might have to file for bankruptcy to deal with a $12 billion bond required to appeal a mammoth verdict against its cigarette marketing.