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Shares in Publicis and WPP fall on WSJ report of probe into advertising sector

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Shares in Publicis and WPP fall on WSJ report of probe into advertising sector
FILE PHOTO: An usher holds a baton to guide attendees towards the AGM of advertising agency WPP in London, Britain, June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo   -   Copyright  Toby Melville(Reuters)
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PARIS (Reuters) – Shares in European advertising companies Publicis <PUBP.PA> and WPP <WPP.L> fell on Friday, with traders attributing the declines to Wall Street Journal report of a U.S. investigation into the sector.

The paper reported that federal prosecutors in Manhattan had opened an investigation into media-buying practices in the advertising industry and had begun issuing subpoenas as part of the probe, citing people familiar with the matter.

Publicis shares were down by 2.7 percent in early trading, while WPP fell 2.8 percent. Both were among the worst performers on the pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX>.

Media buying is a highly profitable part of the industry and a previous report in 2016 by the Association of National Advertisers had prompted major advertising buyers to demand better transparency.

Publicis and WPP compete with the likes of Omnicom <OMC.N>, Interpublic <IPG.N> and Dentsu <4324.T> in the global advertising industry.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Kate Holton and David Goodman)

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