The Ad Market

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Turn Signals

Still falling: U.S. ad agency employment continued to drop in May, but the rate of job losses remains low. If forecasts are right that a slow recovery will begin in the second half, there is the possibility that employment will stabilize soon. Agency employment in May was the lowest since March 1999; the May number was 10.1% below the August 2000 peak of 202,800.

AdMarket 50

Bottom's up: The markets had their second-highest one-day point gain ever Wednesday, but it didn't quite make up for the beating of the prior two weeks. Still, it was an encouraging sign that investors are willing to take the good earnings news in hand and jump back into stocks. Twenty-three AdMarket stocks were up and 27 were down.

Bottom-feeding investors bid up many of the previous week's losers, such as drugmakers Wyeth and Johnson & Johnson. But bargain hunting could not salvage the battered agency stocks. Media companies were mixed, with big gains for newspaper companies, which reported strong earnings a week earlier, and weaker results for still-struggling magazines. Publisher Primedia hit a new low, below the all-important $1 mark.

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketers, agency and media companies for the week ended July 26 based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices July 19.

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