Following a day in which the stock markets more closely resembled a bad dress rehearsal of Die Valkyrie than a rational trading mechanism, agency shares – especially those of the major European groups – dove steeply.

Despite these operatic vapours, the Dow Jones Industrial Average survived a 20% fall from its record high to close only slightly down on the day, as did Nasdaq which finished marginally up by 67.47 at 1,897.70 points.

But it was not a happy ending for MarchFirst, the hardest hit of all agency stocks, which closed.11.11% down at 25 cents. Cordiant Communications saw its ADR (American Depository Receipt) shares fall by 10.21% to $17.51; Publicis Groupe by 9.12% to $28; and Havas Advertising 7.83% to $12.50.

[A rare note of sanity was sounded by UK daily broadsheet The Guardian, whose editorial leader reminded readers that despite the market hysteria and prognostications of doom, US share prices are still 50% higher than they were in December 1996.]

News source: Advertising Age - Daily Deadline