The Ad Market

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Faced with news of voodoo corporate accounting and Middle East tensions, consumers are losing faith in the recovery. The consumer confidence index dropped in June, along with indicators for current economic conditions and expectations for six months from now.

And consumers have trimmed spending plans to match their outlook.

No fireworks on Wall Street: The nation celebrated, but the markets did not. Continuing worry about war, terrorism and corporate accounting scandals kept stocks spiraling down. In a short trading week-the markets were closed July 4 and were open for a partial day July 5-the market managed to eke out small gains. Still, the Standard & Poor's 500 index punched through the lows set after Sept. 11 to its lowest level since Jan. 1998. For the week, 27 AdMarket stocks were up and 22 were down; Univision Communications was unchanged.

With the advertising recovery still far from a sure thing, agency stocks clustered on the bottom of the AdMarket tally. Marketers performed relatively better, as technology and telecoms tried to shake off WorldCom-related gloom late in the week, while the boardroom coup at Vivendi Universal shook media stocks.

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of top publicly traded marketers, agency and media companies for the week ended July 5 based on stock-trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are based on closing prices June 28.

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