The Ad Market

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Turn Signals

The Conference Board's Help Wanted Index-a strong indicator of the health of the job market and the newspaper industry-dropped again in March, as the employment market slowed down during the uncertainty surrounding the war with Iraq. At this rate, Conference Board economists forecast the job market will snap back late this year or early next year.

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Investors shrugged off the still-tepid recovery and continued pushing markets higher, led by improving outlooks among the technology companies and positive comments from the Treasury Secretary regarding inflation. Tech stocks helped the markets eke out a fourth consecutive week of gains, the first four-week winning stretch since October. For the week, 26 AdMarket stocks were up and 24 were down.

Most agency companies performed well, as investors anticipate a recovery in the ad market, but Cordiant Communications Group continued to drop while it seeks buyers. Among media companies, Primedia rose after it announced plans to split its Media Central unit and lay off employees in a cost-cutting move. (See story, P. 4) AOL Time Warner dropped as CNN founder Ted Turner dumped more than half his stake and large shareholders vowed to protest at the company's annual meeting May 16.

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