Ad Watch

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Publicis soared above rivals in October new-business wins, including Procter & Gamble's Gillette media buying, Unilever detergent and Samsung global branding. That kept the holding company in first place year to date, according to the billings tally by Bear Stearns' Alexia Quadrani. Publicis wins largely came at the expense of WPP, the month's big loser.

Focus on: Wal-Mart Stores (WMT)

Wal-Mart began its holiday ads Nov. 1, a few weeks early, and will lure shoppers with deep discounts Nov. 25 as it works to kick start holiday sales. It's been a tough year for Wal-Mart as critics hammer it over labor practices and poorer customers struggle with high gas prices. Post-Katrina, the stock hit a six-year low in September. Wal-Mart still faces a Y2K problem: Shares hit an all -time high of $70.25 on Dec. 31, 1999, two weeks before the Dow Jones peak, and the stock's been stuck ever since.

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