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Employment in advertising agencies rose to 429,500 in June, a healthy 0.7% increase from May's total. But total employment in the industry -- including advertising, public relations, media buying and direct marketing agencies -- is still 1.8% below the same period last year. The industry hasn't seen a year-over-year increase since April 2001. Industry observers expect the trend will change in the second half, but in their second-quarter conference calls, most holding companies wouldn't rule out more layoffs in the future, if the advertising recovery stalls.

Admarket 50

Gas, trade deficit leave stocks flat: The week got off to a strong start with improving July retail sales and an interest-rate increase investors had already expected. But by week's end, gas prices had hit $46 a barrel and a sharp increase in the trade deficit made investors scramble for the exits. For the week, 23 AdMarket stocks were up and 27 were down.

Walt Disney Co. shares dropped, even after the parent of ABC posted improved results; analysts were cautious about the prospects of its theme parks and its weak movie slate this year. Interpublic Group of Cos. and Primedia both traded down a week after posting disappointing results. Yahoo! soared after a lawsuit settlement with Google that will give Yahoo! shares in the search engine company.

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended Aug. 13, based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices Aug. 6. Full data available on Bloomberg terminals under index BAAX.

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