With few new accounts in the new-business pipeline, the big keep getting bigger. The four largest agency holding companies-Omnicom Group, WPP Group, Interpublic Group of Cos. and the Publicis/Bcom3 combination-won more business than they lost in the first four months of 2002. The next tier of holding companies-Havas, Grey Global Group and Cordiant Communications Group-held the line. Things look grim for independent agencies.
Stock sentiment seesaws: Bipolar personality continues to plague the recovery. Terror warnings and reduced gross domestic product growth took the steam off markets that had been stoked earlier in the week by lower initial unemployment claims and higher durable goods orders and new-home sales. When the U.S. Commerce Department May 24 revised first-quarter GDP down to 5.6%-from an initial 5.8%, and below analysts' 6% expectations-the markets hit another pothole and gave back most of their gains from the previous week's rally. Only 11 AdMarket stocks were up and 39 were down.
Agencies and media companies took the brunt of the slide. Only Clear Channel Communications, Interpublic Group of Cos., Omnicom Group, News Corp. and Univision avoided a down week, but all showed just nominal gains.
Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketers, agency and media companies for the week ended May 24 based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are based on closing prices May 17.