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Consumer confidence is up, but investor confidence hasn't followed as the earnings season continues to deliver bad news on Wall Street. Good economic news in the form of better unemployment and mortgage application numbers didn't help investors get past their fears of voodoo bookkeeping and weak earnings. For the week, 20 AdMarket stocks were up and 30 were down. Media stocks rallied late in the week with investors betting on an ad recovery. But Primedia posted a huge fourth-quarter loss, leading to a downgrade by Credit Suisse First Boston as the stock plunged.

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketers, agency and media companies for the week ended Feb. 8, 2002, based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are based on closing prices Feb. 1.

U.S. ad agency employment tends to fall before the economy and recover later. Agency jobs dropped in full-year 2001 for the first time since 1994, when the industry dealt with consolidation and the lingering effects of the 1990-91 recession. With agency layoffs still ongoing, it could be 2003 before agency employment begins to rise again.


But the rate of decline slowed by year-end, suggesting the worst may be over.


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