Merrill Lynch Sees 2004 Ad-Spending Uptick

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Merrill Lynch & Co. has revised its advertising-spending forecasts upward for the United States and around the globe in 2004.

In its MediaWeekly report, Merrill Lynch’s Lauren Fine wrote that ad U.S. ad spending would expand 5.8% next year versus an earlier prediction of 5.4%.

When the final tallies are in on the current year, the investment firm anticipates that ad spending in this nation will have grown at a 2.7% clip, down from its early projection of 2.8%.

Merrill Lynch revised its 2004 forecasts after its analysts tracking such large categories as autos, telecommunications, retail, entertainment, food, financial services, beverages and consumer products completed their studies of trends within the respective sectors, which together represented 60% of total ad spending in the United States last year.

Merrill Lynch revamped its predictions after factoring in its analysts’ analysis and largely assuming that ad spending for the other categories will grow in line with gross domestic product.

Fine’s 2004 estimate also accounted for 0.5% growth emanating from political advertising and incremental Olympic Games spending.

Globally, Merrill Lynch adjusted its spending projections ahead for both the current and following year. The company’s forecast for 2003 now calls for a 2.1% gain in ad allotments versus its earlier 1.9% call. In 2004, ad spending may rise 5% compared with Merrill Lynch’s earlier forecasts predicting a 4.7% advance.

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