New business activity was mixed in October. More accounts changed hands, but the amount of billings involved was lower, suggesting smaller accounts were involved. Fifty-nine accounts worth $1 billion changed agencies, compared to 49 accounts worth $1.3 billion a year ago and 50 worth $840 million in September. Among the holding companies, Omnicom Group regained its new business groove after two weak months in a row. The company claims it's on track to net $4 billion in new business this year.
Rally fizzles: The markets tried to rally, but barely managed an up week, pulled by opposing indicators. Industrial production showed its biggest drop in a year, but the bellwether University of Michigan Consumer Confidence Index was up, a sign that consumers could carry the economy for a few more rounds. For the week, 32 AdMarket stocks were up and 18 were down.
Media and agency stocks showed vitality, which some analysts pinned on optimistic ad spending projections. Dow Jones & Co. posted encouraging October ad linage numbers at its flagship Wall Street Journal. Omnicom Group got a sharp boost on news that investor Warren Buffett and his company, Berkshire Hathaway, had bought a large block of shares. Interpublic Group of Cos. managed an up week (See story, this page).
Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended Nov. 15 based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices Nov. 8.