New business activity kept improving in August. Forty-five accounts worth $1.3 billion changed agencies in August, up from 40 accounts worth $945 million in August 2001. The holding companies saw large accounts changing hands, such as Hyundai's dealer association group, Wendy's International, California State Lottery and Qwest.
Yet another bad week on Wall Street dropped the Dow Jones average back below the 8,000-point mark. A heavy "triple-witching" trading day on Friday-a usually active day when futures, options and index contracts expire simultaneously-and an upbeat forecast from wireless chipmaker Qualcomm couldn't beat a week of weakness brought on by profit warnings from companies including Electronic Data Systems and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Only eight AdMarket stocks were up, 42 were down.
Tribune Co. was one of a handful of media companies that rose, after it reported stronger August advertising figures; Washington Post Co. got a boost from Barron's, which touted it as an undervalued stock. Among agencies, Havas sank, even after it posted a return to profit for the first half; markets were spooked by a grim ad spending outlook from management (see Late News, P. 2). Its French competitors at Publicis Groupe also dropped, even as Bcom3 shareholders approved a merger (see story, P. 2).
Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended Sept. 20 based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices Sept. 13.