Agency, Internet stocks post grim Friday losses

By Published on .

Agency holding company and Internet stocks took a beating on April 14 as the Dow dropped a record 618 points and the Nasdaq fell an unprecedented 355 points.

The most spectacular dives occurred in the Net ad sector. Interactive agency stocks such as L90, Rare Medium and Xceed dropped more than 30%. Digitas closed at $12 -- half its March initial public offering price. Organic, backed by Omnicom Group, and Luminant Worldwide Corp., backed by Young & Rubicam, hit new lows.

Among major Web ad services companies, Engage Technologies fell 19% and now is 77% off its peak, while DoubleClick dipped 4%.

Hardest hit among traditional agency groups were U.K.-based Cordiant Communications and WPP Group. Cordiant dropped 16% to close at $22, while WPP lost 12% of its value, closing at $68.94.

WPP shares may also be experiencing aftershock from speculation about its ongoing negotiations to acquire Young & Rubicam. Those talks may have helped Y&R, which ended the week down just 7% at $38.50.

Other tumbles were taken by: Interpublic Group of Cos., down 6% to $40.94; Omnicom Group, down 7% to $82.12; True North Communications, down 6% to $36.12; and Saatchi & Saatchi, down 10% to $23.25.

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