What next?

Will US president Bush slap a tax on energy sources to counter global warming? Or his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, release the forty-two journalists held in his country's festering jails? Maybe UK premier Blair will hand over the reins of government to chancellor Brown next week?

All now seem slightly less improbable in the light of a startling character change by Sir Martin Sorrell.

The WPP Group ceo on Tuesday abandoned his legendary caution to issue an optimistic forecast - a marked U-turn given his usual practice of promising little and delivering much.

Sorrell told a conference sponsored by US investment research and institutional asset management firm Sanford C Bernstein that he expects WPP to deliver current year organic growth of between 5% and 6% - well ahead of analysts' expectations.

Sorrell's atypical sanguinity comes just one month after WPP posted a 32% rise in first-half pretax profits to £254.8 million ($450.4m; €375m).

Recent account gains have seen Mediaedge:cia appointed to share Michelin's £20m European account; it also shares an even larger new business win - Ikea's €200m global media planning and buying - with sister shop MediaCom.

Says SCB in a note to investors: "Sorrell effectively raised the company's 2005 organic revenue guidance to 5%-6% from 4%-5% previously. Our current estimate is 4.9%."

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