The Ad Market

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Going up: U.S. measured ad spending in May increased 1.4% from a year ago, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR, raising hopes that the ad recession may have turned a corner. This was only the second up month-the first was February's Olympics-related surge-since spending began falling in December 2000. CMR in June predicted spending would be down 0.4% in the first half and up 6.2% in the second half for a 2.5% full-year increase. But optimists beware: Most media benefited from favorable comparisons to May 2001, when ad spending began to dive in earnest.

AdMarket 50

Trying to rally: Wall Street put some faith in the market, in spite of a lukewarm report from the National Bureau of Economic Research that doubted the recession is over. Investors bought into the market, as they increasingly suspected the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates again to shake off the doldrums and avoid the double-dip recession the NBER seemed to hint at in its statement.

Among agency stocks, Omnicom Group bounced back, thanks to healthy quarterly results and an appearance in Merrill Lynch & Co.'s list of companies with high-quality earnings (see story, P. 4). Meanwhile, Interpublic Group of Cos. took a beating, hitting a low of $12.75-its lowest point since 1995-after postponing its earnings report (see P. 10). Univision Communications was punished for a weak quarter and a downward revision to its forecast for the year (see earnings story, this page).

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketers, agency and media companies for the week ended Aug. 9 based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices Aug. 2.

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