Amid growing pessimism about the prospects for an imminent ad recovery, investment bank Lehman Brothers has slashed its trading recommendation for WPP Group.

The agency giant is now rated as ‘market perform’, compared with ‘buy’ previously.

“Short-term prospects for advertising recovery appear to be fading,” commented Lehman, “and while the cloud over the advertising subsector remains, the WPP share price may continue to suffer.”

The news is unlikely to come as a surprise to WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell – currently one of the most pessimistic ad forecasters, having predicted no significant recovery until 2004.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic; additional data by WARC staff