Wall Street Greets DoubleClick, Retreats From aQuantive, Digitas
DoubleClick, the leader in online ad-serving, rich media development and other online ad services, soared 15 percent Thursday after the company reported fourth quarter 2003 earnings of $3.8 million, an improvement from a $54 million loss a year earlier.
But despite comparably strong earnings results, two publicly traded interactive ad agency groups saw their share prices tumble on Wall Street Thursday. Shares of aQuantive, the parent company of Avenue A, i-Frontier and Atlas DMT, fell 11 percent to close at $11.47 on Thursday despite reporting earnings of $4.1 million, an increase from $1.7 million a year earlier. Digitas shares, meanwhile, traded down 10 percent to close Thursday at $10.49, despite reported net fourth quarter earnings of $8.1 million, an increase from $1.7 million a year earlier.
A major factor in the divergent market reactions between DoubleClick and the interactive ad shops was the strength of their 2004 earnings guidance. Investors took DoubleClick's fourth quarter results to be an inflection point signaling a turnaround, while they saw the interactive ad agency marketplace as erratic.