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Total U.S. ad spending rose in the fist half of 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. CMR has forecast 9% to 10% growth this year, thanks to the effect of the Olympics and the Presidential election. Spending among the top ten largest U.S. advertisers jumped 5.7% to $8.23 billion, with increases among all but Time Warner, which was down 3%. Procter & Gamble Co. was the largest U.S. advertiser in the first half, with $1.32 billion spent, up 4% over last year.

Admarket 50

Dog days: Investors were encouraged when oil prices backed down and tensions eased in Iraq, but worried about revised second-quarter gross-domestic-product figures, which showed the economy grew more slowly than expected. But none of this made much of a difference in a low-volume week where Wall Street got a head start on the Labor Day holiday. For the week 32 AdMarket stocks were up, 17 were down and American Express Co. was unchanged.

Media stocks lost some altitude after Merrill Lynch & Co. advertising analyst Lauren Rich Fine revised her spending growth forecast; she lowered slightly her total advertising numbers for 2004 and 2005, and reduced her projection for newspapers, while increasing her broadcast TV estimate.

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended Aug. 27, based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices Aug. 20. Full data available on Bloomberg terminals under index BAAX.

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