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Turn Signals

Consumers APPEAR to be boosting the recovery, but the job market remains pokey. After a high in January, the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index slid nine points in February and consumers appear to be trimming their outlook for the next six months.

AdMarket 50

Weak jobs, weak market: The stock market idled most of the week, and a pallid jobs report late in the week did nothing to help. Investors trod carefully, encouraged by the expectation that interest rates will remain low until after the November election, but were discouraged after the February jobs report posted a lesser-than-expected growth. For the week, 37 AdMarket 50 stocks were up and 13 were down.

Agency and media stocks slumped on the economic news, but Havas rose, when it countered a weak 2003 earnings report with a forecast for growth in 2004. (See story, right) Fast-feeders Yum Brands and McDonald's Corp. also rose after posting higher February sales. Walt Disney Co. ended the week down 0.19%, after a tumultuous shareholder meeting and CEO Michael Eisner's ouster as chairman. (See P. 1)

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended March 5, based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices Feb. 27. Full data available on Bloomberg terminals under index BAAX.

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