Stocks Down on War Fears

Stock prices retreated sharply last week due to fears of a prolonged war, and the ad sector was not unaffected, with valuations dipping slightly. Still, investors perceived no change in media spending due to the war, which kept prices from falling further, analysts said. Omnicom Group dodged a bullet when the release of its first financial report under new auditor KPMG showed no restatements, changes or accounting disagreements. On the big board, Omnicom shares dipped 3 percent to $55.51; Interpublic Group, seen to be taking steps to stabilize its balance sheet, fell 4.2 percent to close at $9.52; and British holding company WPP Group, trading as American Depository Receipts on the Nasdaq, felt the chill of a weak European ad market, dropping 4.9 percent to $27.71. —david kaplan