Measured U.S. ad spending rose 4.1% in the first half, though Q2's rise (+2.9%) fell from Q1 (+5.3%, boosted by Olympics), according to TNS Media Intelligence. Internet soared 18.9%, or $745 million3; local newspapers fell 3.9%, or $475 million. Three advertisers topped $1 billion in the first half: Procter & Gamble ($1.6 billion, +8%), General Motors ($1.3 billion, -17.4%) and AT&T ($1.2 billion, +32.9%). See more analysis at AdAge.com.
Focus on: HOME DEPOT (HD), LOWE'S COS. (LOW)
It's the ultimate do-it-yourself achievement: Bob Nardelli has managed to lose $30 billion in market cap since he left GE to become CEO of Home Depot in Dec. '00. Shares have floundered while rival Lowe's soared. Both stocks have slumped in '06; the fizzling housing market presents challenges. Home Depot's image for customer service has sagged, but Mr. Nardelli is investing heavily to improve the in-store experience.
Last week's score
Stocks fell as weak housing reports and economic worries trumped falling oil prices. Ford, flying with a new CEO, hit its highest point since January.
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