Shares Were Hurt By Investors’ fear

Interpublic Group, the largest advertising company saw its shares dropped 24 per cent .The possible reason could be the delay in publishing second-quarter financial statements by the Interpublic audit committee.The dramatic fear of investors of the possibility of accounting irregularity is another indication of the market's extreme sensitivity. Moreover, shares of advertising companies have been under pressure this year following press reports.The attention paid to Omnicom's accounting, which was prompted in part by the resignations of two of its board members, hurt shares of most of the advertising groups. Omnicom has since changed its auditors and sought to provide more financial information to the public.Interpublic committee will take the extra time to review its second-quarter results, which are now set to be released next Tuesday.Interpublic shares fell $4.69, or 24 per cent, to $14.99 in New York trade on Monday. The shares are down 49 per cent in 2002.Under a new rule by the US Securities & Exchange Commission, chief executives and chief financial officers of the country's top public companies must certify the accuracy of their financial statements. The deadline for this certification is Aug. 14. Omnicom’s top two executives planned to certify results before the deadline.Interpublic, which owns firms such as McCann-Erickson and Foote Cone & Belding, has been battling a difficult advertising market.Last year it recorded charges of nearly $1bn to reflect the decline in internet investments and merger-related costs. It also cut nearly 7,000 jobs. ©

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