New business activity dropped off in October, with only 33 accounts worth $840 million changing agencies, compared to 59 accounts worth $1 billion in October 2002. But several holding companies have experienced improvement in their new-business record in recent months. Havas was helped by Euro RSCG's win of Polaroid's global account, the consolidation of part of France Telecom's media account at Media Planning Group and McKinney & Silver's win of Travelocity. Interpublic Group of Cos., which had struggled with new business earlier in the year, appears to be improving its performance and should benefit from the ongoing review for Johnson & Johnson's $100 million Tylenol account among three of its shops.
Weak payrolls drop markets: A disappointing report showing less job growth than expected and a Northeast snowstorm that depressed trading volumes combined to hold down the stock markets late in the week. The repeal of steel tariffs gave a strong boost to the stocks of automakers, who will pay less for materials, while retailers suffered from mixed sales reports for the first week of holiday shopping. For the week, 27 AdMarket stocks were up and 23 were down.
Among agency and media stocks, Omnicom Group got a boost from OMD's win of the media account of McDonald's Corp. and Havas from a move to postpone cashing in debt. Walt Disney Co.'s strong box-office gains were overshadowed by the boardroom purge of Roy Disney, Walt's nephew, in a clash with CEO Michael Eisner.
Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended Dec. 5, based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices Nov. 28. Full data available on Bloomberg terminals under index BAAX.