Industry Stocks Go South

In a stock market that closed down Friday after three straight days of selling, industry stocks also lost ground last week. The threat of war and heightened risk of terrorism largely accounted for the drag on stock prices. But for Interpublic Group, it was yet another week of company-specific bad news: JP Morgan downgraded the stock and warned that IPG might have to cut its dividend; IPG’s McCann-Erickson lost its flagship Coke Classic business; and speculation mounted about the sell-off of assets like NFO as IPG raced to meet its Feb. 10 deadline to renegotiate debt (see page 7). Omnicom, however, received a boost Friday after BusinessWeek was bullish about its investment potential, though the holding company lost those gains to the larger market pull downward. —NOREEN O’LEARY