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Art & Commerce

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Gains and Pains In the first quarter, a half-dozen ad stocks outperformed the Dow Jones Industrials; five companies beat the market in the second period, but it was not entirely the same gang. The best showing in the recent quarter came from CKS, ahead by 50 percent. Yet, during the March period, the stock had lost 19 percent of its value. Such volatility can give investors a thrill, which is great if they know when to jump in and jump out. But with all the gyrations, the price is only 5 percent above where it was one year ago. True North had a similar swing-down in Q1, riding high in June, but basically back to its year-ago level. Among the more seasoned companies, Grey, Interpublic and Omnicom have shown the most consistent gains, up solidly in each of this year's periods and way ahead of prices a year ago. TMP Worldwide offered the best performance considering the more recent stock issues, those that have debuted since 1995. So far, the "new age" companies-Think New Ideas, Eagle River and Leap Group-have been, to be charitable, disasters, each selling significantly below its IPO price. -Alan Gottesman (westendal pobox.com) is principal of West End Consulting.

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THE GOTTESMAN FILE
Most ad stocks posted gains in the second quarter and are up substantially for the year to date.
..........Stock price 6/30/97....Relative price change: Year to date..... Q2


.....CKS Group.....33.75.....21.1%.....50.0%

.....True North.....24.75.....13.1%.....37.5%

.....TMP Worldwide.....24.25.....90.2%.....33.8%

.....Grey.....330.00.....29.9%.....22.7%

.....Omnicom.....61.63.....34.7%.....22.0%

.....Dow Jones Industrials.....7,672.79.....19.0%.....16.5%

.....Interpublic.....61.31.....29.1%.....14.6%

.....Cordiant.....6.19.....23.8%.....5.3%

.....WPP Group.....40.75.....-5.1%.....-0.6%

.....Think New Ideas.....4.13.....-29.8%.....-5.7%

.....Eagle River.....8.00.....1.6%.....-16.9%

.....Leap Group.....2.75.....-60.0%.....-45.0%

.....Source: Company records