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Briefs

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WPP Raises Dividend Payout

London-based WPP increased its final dividend for 2002 to 5.52 cents per share, bringing its 2002 total to 8.12 cents a share, up 20 percent from 2001. The record date is June 6 for this dividend, payable on July 7.

Consumer Confidence Hits 9-Year Low

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index dropped sharply in February, showing a 15-point decline, to a nine-year low. The board blamed lackluster job and financial markets, rising fuel costs and the increasing threat of war and terrorism. Consumers' outlook for the next six months is also more pessimistic than their outlook last month, according to the board.