Hope springs eternal in the human breast - especially that of European admen looking westward from the shores of old Europe. Publicis Groupe chairman/ceo Maurice Levy is no exception to Pope's poetic adage.

Levy's optimism brims o'er the brink at the thought of good times coming his way from the auto heartland of Detroit. In particular from General Motors and its $3.5 billion (€2.86bn; £1.93bn) media account awarded last month to Publicis shop Starcom MediaVest.

This manna from heaven, together with other stateside new business wins, prompted Levy's outpouring of optimism at the group's annual meeting in Paris on Wednesday.

He told stockholders and the inevitable array of hangers-on that he expects Publicis to outperform the 3% annual growth predicted for the global advertising market in 2005.

The company, Levy forecast, will this year achieve a profit margin in line with - or slightly better than - last year's 15.4%. By 2008, the margin will have increased to 17%.

Part Cassandra, part Candide, Levy continued: "Europe is stagnating, it is gloomy. America is going forward and this situation should be good for us because we have more business in the US than in Europe."

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff