Ad Market 50

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Mixed signals: The weak job market is weighing down on consumers. The consumer confidence index dropped again in September, marking the fourth month of decline in a row. Yet while the outlook is mixed, the public has turned more optimistic about the near future, which Conference Board researchers say is a typical trend in a recovery.

Five down weeks and counting: The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank to its lowest level in four years early in the week, regained some ground in a "reflex rally" and then dropped again to end the week down. Several government statistics showed signs of economic recovery, including slightly better than expected gross domestic product growth, but profit warnings from Philip Morris Cos., Wyeth and Delta Air Lines took their toll. Twenty-one AdMarket stocks were up for the week; 29 were down.

Several media companies made optimistic remarks at an investor conference last week, which helped media and agency shares post gains. Omnicom Group took a hit Sept. 27 after Gillette Co. moved media buying to WPP Group, and troubled Cordiant Communications Group dropped slightly. Other agency companies saw gains.

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended Sept. 27 based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices Sept. 20.

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