In yet another indicator that mutual fund companies are tightening their marketing budgets, Dow Jones said last week that advertising from financial companies in its flagship publication, the Wall Street Journal, declined by nearly 50% compared to the year before.

The figures represent a stark contrast to last year when the paper reported annual advertising declines of 8.1% for the financial sector.

"The numbers were what we expected," said spokesman Aaron Bedy. "Financial services advertising is based very much on financial performance, including the number of IPOs and trading volume, which both have been very low."

Bedy said it was difficult to quantify how much of the Journal's advertising is comprised of mutual fund company dollars.

Barron's, another well-known Dow publication, posted declines in its national advertising pages of 35.7% in January. Advertising in the Journal's European edition declined by 45.4% and the Asian Wall Street Journal posted advertising declines of 38.7%.

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