Advertising spend is directly tied to the economic backdrop, so investors can take some wider encouragement from the unexpectedly sunny outlook outlined by WPP.
AJ Bell’s Russ Mould said: “Before anyone gets too excited growth is still set to decelerate in 2023, but not as much as analysts had feared. The company is proving successful at reducing costs and any concern about the size of its debt pile is assuaged by an eye-catching increase in the dividend.
“While Mark Read is unlikely to receive too many garlands for his performance, given the shares are lower than when he started as CEO in 2018, he does deserve credit for stabilising the business in the wake of founder Martin Sorrell’s acrimonious departure and seeing it through the pandemic and a continuing structural shift in the advertising market.
“If he can get WPP to deliver robust performance when the backdrop is challenged, he will hope to impress when economic conditions move more in its favour.”