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Political advertising and the Olympic Games had the expected effect on ad spending during the first nine months of 2004. Totals rose fueled by $1.55 billion in Olympic spending-$255 million more than for the 2000 Sydney Games-and $765 million in political and issue spending, a number that is projected to top $1.45 billion when full-year numbers are tallied. See QwikFIND aaq15k

Admarket 50

Cheaper oil trumps bad news: A drop in the price of oil earlier in the week helped offset news of weak retail numbers and new lows for the dollar and a weaker-than-expected employment report released late in the week. For the week, 35 AdMarket stocks were up and 15 were down.

Disappointing Black Friday sales at several retailers and brokerage downgrades of Target Corp. and Gap weighed down retail stocks late in the week; Wal-Mart Stores took a hit after management forecast a lower-than expected December sales forecast. Media stocks clustered near the bottom of the AdMarket 50, in spite of optimistic spending forecasts. (See story, right). Newspapers slid after New York Times Co. forecast lower-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings.

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended Dec. 3, based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices Nov. 26. Full data available on Bloomberg terminals under index BAAX.

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