While Publicis Groupe showed some modest improvement in organic growth during the third quarter (results were issued today) the gains fell short of analysts’ expectations, driving most of the major holding company stocks down in mid-morning trading today.
Publicis Groupe was down more than 6% on the Paris Stock Exchange, while WPP American Depository Receipts traded more than 2% lower on the NASDAQ.
Even Omnicom, which was up earlier in the week on its positive Q3 results, was dragged down today by 3% on the New York Stock Exchange. And Interpublic was down 2%, also on the NYSE.
By comparison, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index were down, but only by small fractions of a percentage point.
Commenting on the Publicis results, Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser wrote in an investor note that the company’s organic growth rate was “softer than expected at +1.2%, although arguably the more significant negative outcome from [a company call with analysts] was an absence of confirmation of a positive growth expectation for the fourth quarter.”
For the fourth quarter of 2017, the company’s guidance, noted Wieser, “only indicated that it forecast a better October vs. September and that it continues to expect an improved pace of organic growth in the second half relative to the first half.
"However, management would not clarify if growth would necessarily accelerate, or necessarily be positive — no more specific commentary was provided beyond the second half growth expectation. This will be understandably viewed in a negative light, given the soft 3Q outcome and ongoing industry concerns around marketers containing their spending on agency services.”
It appears that investors had those concerns in mind during this morning’s trading session.