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Media stocks rally as mood improves

LONDON - Media stocks benefited from a more positive mood in the market this morning with many leading companies, including Carlton Communications and WPP Group, seeing their share prices rally significantly.

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Companies with big increases include Carlton Communications, which saw its share price increase by 10.1% to 182.3p; United Business Media, up by 4.7% to 414.5p; and Financial Times publisher Pearson up 7.7% to 818p.

Carlton had fallen out of favour recently and was dropped from the FTSE 100 index at its most recent review last month, while broker ABN Amro forecast worsening results for the ITV broadcaster this morning.

WPP Group, which is now trying to get out of its £432m bid to buy Tempus, saw its shares trading at 577.5p, up 7.12%. Tempus, however, was unmoved at 465p.

Public relations and advertising group Incepta also saw a significant rise after posting results yesterday. It went from 28p to 32p -- an increase of 14.3%.

However, Lorna Tilbian, an analyst at broker Numis, said that the sector was benefiting from "a technical rally", owing to wider economic factors such as interest rate cuts.

"There is the thinking that there might be a sharp recovery, but I'm sceptical," she said, adding it was likely there would be days when the screens were all blue, and days where the screens were all red.

Rupert Murdoch's address to BSkyB's AGM yesterday saw the company's share price increase by 5.3%, trading at 703p this morning. Cordiant Communications, which has seen its share price fall dramatically this year, experienced a small rally, with its share price going up by 13% to 74p.

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