The June-July stock market spiral and more news of voodoo corporate accounting took a bite out of consumers. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index dropped again in July, falling to its lowest level since February, and consumers became increasingly pessimistic about the near future. Conference Board researchers warn that, if this slide goes on, it could endanger the recovery.
Back down: The market tried to rally but gave it all back in the end. An early week rally attempt fizzled under a negative consumer confidence report (see Turn Signals, above) and weak corporate earnings at Walt Disney Co. Disappointing reports on unemployment and factory-goods orders late in the week raised new fears of a double-dip into recession. Only 12 AdMarket stocks were up and 38 were down.
Media and agency stocks dropped to the bottom of the AdMarket list, with only two media stocks up for the week: Primedia, which reported reduced losses, and Meredith Corp., which posted a strong quarter. (See story, right.) Meanwhile, Disney and AOL Time Warner stocks continued to languish, along with Havas and WPP Group amid more questions about an ad recovery.
Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketers, agency and media companies for the week ended Aug. 2 based on stock-trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices July 26.