World's Largest Ad Company Crashes After Dismal Earnings, "Terrible" Guidance

If Tuesday's tape bomb came courtesy of the most prominent UK subprime lender, Provident Financial, which plunged over 70% after it gave a "clearly awful" business update coupled with the resignation of its CEO, Wednesday's market shock belongs to ad giant,update coupled with the resignation of its CEO, the market shock belongs to ad giant, WPP, whose shares crashed the most since 2000 after the world’s largest advertising company cut full-year revenue forecast amid lower spending by customers, while reporting dreadful Q2 earnings.

In a clear warning to ad-dependent tech behemoths such as Google and Facebook, or rather their shareholders, WPP stock plunged as much as 12% after the company again slashed its revenue guidance, which is now expected to be between zero and 1% in 2017.

That’s down from an earlier 2% forecast. Just five months ago, in March, WPP, which owns advertising agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather, Grey Global, and JWT, suffered its biggest drop since the financial crisis when it gave its initial forecast for 2% growth, the slowest pace since 2009. Now that number is down to 0%. 

Source: Bloomberg

It wasn't just the company's forecast: in the second quarter, WPP’s "like-for-like" net sales fell 0.5% with July declining 2.6% and North America and Western Continental Europe were the poorest performing regions, according to Bloomberg. Worse, constant currency billings plunged 4.7% Y/Y, confirming just how little pricing power even the biggest market players in the field have. Q2 results confirmed unexpectedly weaker industry trends highlighted previously by U.S. competitor Interpublic.

The company, which according to analysts laid out dismal earnings and "terrible guidance", blamed populist politics in the UK and US, fake news on platforms like Facebook and Google, and short-term thinking in business, for the terrible start to the year.

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