Sliding Scale

Stocks fell again last week, as the one-two punch of rising oil prices and falling consumer confidence hit the markets hard. WIth renewed violence in the Middle East, crude oil prices hit a record $78.40 per barrel during trading on Friday, while retail sales fell in June and consumer confidence dipped in July. The triple whammy left investors worried that the economy was especially fragile. For the week, the Dow dropped a total of 391 points, to close at 10,739.35 down 3.5 percent. The Nasdaq lost nearly 99 points to close at 2,037.35, a 4.6 percent drop. Ad companies also fared poorly, with all major holding companies falling. Omnicom dropped 2.86 points to close at 85.35, down nearly 3.2 percent. WPP Group lost 2.5 points to close at 56.26, off 4.3 percent. And Publicis Groupe lost nearly 5.2 percent to close at 35.13, down 1.92 points. For analysis of Interpublic Group’s stock performance, see story, page 8.