Media, Marketers Take a Hit on Wall Street

But Coke, Package Goods Hold Their Own as AdMarket 50 Reacts to Finance-Giant Woes

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CHICAGO ( -- Coke is it.

That is, Coca-Cola Co., which edged up 0.5%, is the only member of the Ad Age/Bloomberg AdMarket 50 to post a gain today as the markets reacted to the news about Lehman Bros.' bankruptcy, the sale of Merrill Lynch to Bank of America and American International Group's quest for funding. The remainder of the AdMarket -- an index of marketer, media and agency stocks -- headed south with the overall market.
The AdMarket slumped 3% to its lowest close since July, with the Coca-Cola Co. being the only member to post a gain today.
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GM down 12.1%
The AdMarket slumped 3% to its lowest close since July. That was better than the Dow Jones Industrial Average (down 4.4%, but still above its July 52-week low) and financial-stock-heavy Standard & Poor's 500 (down 4.7% to its lowest point since 2005).

The worst AdMarket performer was General Motors Corp., which tumbled 12.1% to $11.44.

Many blue-chip marketers -- most notably package-goods companies -- held up comparatively well: Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg Co., Kraft Foods, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble Co. each fell less than 2%. Wal-Mart Stores, the titan of retailers, and fast-food sellers McDonald's Corp. and Yum Brands also slipped less than 2%.

Translation: Investors apparently are betting that Wall Street's meltdown won't dramatically affect Main Street's consumption of soda, soap and burgers.

Media stocks mixed
American Express Co., an AdMarket member, plunged 8.9% amid the financial tumult. (Bank of America, not an AdMarket member, plummeted 21.3% amid investor skepticism over its ability to manage both its newly announced acquisition of Merrill Lynch and another troubled recent acquisition, Countrywide Financial Corp.)

Media stocks fell Monday -- some sharply, others more in line with indexes. Newspapers took some of the biggest hits. The New York Times Co. plunged 11.5%; newspaper publisher McClatchy Co. fell 7.1% and Gannett Co. dropped 6.9%.

Publicis unchanged
Among the biggest media companies: Time Warner fell 3.1%; Walt Disney Co. declined 2.7%; and News Corp. dropped 4.1%. All three are still above their 52-week lows.

Big-agency stocks fell in line with indexes except for Publicis Groupe, which managed to close unchanged for the day. Omnicom Group fell 3.4%. WPP Group declined 4.6%. Interpublic Group of Cos. fell 3.3%.
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