Bah humbug: What Wall Street’s crisis means to you

[Trading places, on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday]

Gannett’s stock fell 3% yesterday, closing at $18.01 a share, as the broader market tanked amid dimming prospects for a quick end to the financial crisis engulfing Wall Street. The widely watched S&P 500 Index fell an even steeper 3.8%.

But yesterday’s declines mask a more ominous trend that explains why Gannett may be forced to cut still more jobs on top of the 1,000 eliminated last month. Year-to-date, Gannett’s shares are now down 54%, Google Finance says. The S&P is down a whopping 18%. (Chart detail, left; bigger view.)

Facing those scary numbers, already skittish consumers may further reel in their spending plans during the crucial holiday-filled fourth quarter, if federal officials can’t shore up investor confidence. Retailers, then, would buy less advertising on Gannett’s websites, in newspapers and on TV stations. You can bet newspaper division chief Bob Dickey and his newly reorganized team are already revising budgets for periods 10, 11 and 12 — with an eye toward more payroll cuts.

What’s the outlook?
I’m now renewing yesterday’s urgent plea to Gannett’s advertising sales reps: What are your major and minor accounts saying about Christmas/holiday ad spending plans this year vs. 2007? And where did back-to-school ad sales land compared to budget?

Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

[Photo: Trader Jason Weisberg studies his handheld device as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange yesterday, in this picture by Richard Drew, Associated Press]

2 Responses to “Bah humbug: What Wall Street’s crisis means to you”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Forget about Christmas. Something happened this week. Nothing is moving.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    All major accounts are down and we are expected to make it up with the small business owner. Christmas will be good in advertising but whether consumers buy is another question.

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