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What: Shares of advertising agency Interpublic Group (NYS: IPG) were getting a nice boost from investors today, jumping as much as 18% in intraday trading after the company reported third-quarter earnings.
So what: Interpublic's third quarter looked mighty fine, with total revenue climbing 11% to $1.73 billion, easily ahead of the $1.65 billion expected by Wall Street. Though some of that gain was currency movements, the company managed 8.7% organic growth. On the bottom line, the company blew away last year's $0.08 in per-share profit by reporting $0.40 for the quarter. Much of that big bottom line was due to the $132 million gain that Interpublic saw from selling half of its stake in Facebook. Backing that out though, the company still managed $0.16 in earnings per share, doubling last year's tally and blowing away analysts' $0.10 estimate.
Interpublic's CEO said that the strong performance came from across the company's business lines, calling out in particular contributions from emerging markets and the digital arena.
Now what: It hasn't been a kind operating environment for anybody lately, so the strong results out of Interpublic are particularly encouraging. However, should the economy continue to face a rocky road, companies may have to trim budgets, and that could mean leaner times for Interpublic. Personally, I'm more optimistic on the potential for continued economic mending, and the price tag for Interpublic's shares looks pretty fair, so it could be worthwhile to use the quarter's solid performance as an excuse to take a closer look at the company.
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