The Ad Market

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Hire numbers: Finally, U.S. ad agency employment rose in June, coming on the heels of a small May increase in measured U.S. ad spending. But it's hardly a robust recovery. Agency employment of 183,600 is only back to the level of March 2002 and way off its August 2000 peak of 202,300. Agencies face intense profit pressures and a sluggish ad market, so more industry layoffs are still a possibility.

AdMarket 50

Struggling back up: Investors seemed to be warily putting more money into the stock market after most big companies cleared an Aug. 14 deadline to certify financial results with the Securities and Exchange Commission. For the week, 39 AdMarket stocks were up and 11 down.

Cordiant Communications Group fell sharply after news of the loss of the Wendy's International account in the U.S. and reports in the U.K. that key investors are trying to force a change in management. (See story on P. 1.) And Vivendi Universal was punished severely by investors after it reported large losses on writedowns of previous acquisitions; its American Depositary Receipt shares dropped 39.9% during the week. (See earnings story, this page.) AOL Time Warner recovered slightly from the beatings of previous weeks in spite of new accounting worries and word that it had been subpoenaed by the SEC.

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketers, agency and media companies for the week ended Aug. 16 based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices Aug. 9.

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