“Nothing tells me the global economy is improving,” WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell told the World Economic Forum in New York last week. “I think it's going to be a fairly modest recovery, but I don't see any sign of it yet,” said the canny accountant-turned adman.

Sorrell added that the first quarter of 2002 would be tough and he saw “no blue sky” so far as the ad industry is concerned.

His bearish comments at the ultra-high profile gathering did little for WPP Group stock, its share price falling by nearly 2% over two days – although it made a modest recovery on Tuesday to £6.52.

Nor will Sorrell’s public pessimism have gone down well with his peers on Madison Avenue, with NYSE-listed media shares dipping across the board on Monday.

Interpublic Group slipped 2.73%, trading at $46.64, while Omnicom was down 2% to $86.62. News Corporation, parent of the Fox TV network which aired the Super Bowl – a bellwether of ad industry health – fell 2.82% to $26.55.

News source: BrandRepublic (UK)