After Airey, Granada and Carlton tumble as FTSE falls

LONDON - As stock market levels plunged to a six-year low today, media shares took a pummelling, with Carlton Communications and Granada both dropping by 7.5% this afternoon.

The two ITV companies have been the subject of much criticism in the media, following the news that Dawn Airey, chief executive of Five, has accepted the job of managing director at Sky Networks instead of taking up the top role at ITV as the companies had hoped.

Shares in Carlton were valued at 108.5p, down 8.5p on their opening price, while Granada shares were down 5.5p at 67.75p. The news of Airey joining BSkyB was not enough to prevent its shares being hit -- they were trading down 3.6% at 489p.

Other shares hard hit were Daily Mail & General Trust, down by 4.3%, or 20.5p, at 455.5p and Trinity Mirror, which announced the departure of chief executive Philip Graf this morning, down by 2.8% at 352.5p.

Among the advertising holding groups, WPP Group was resisting the downturn, caused by fears of war in Iraq, rising oil prices and delayed economic recovery. It was trading at 405p, down from its opening price by 1.2%.

Emap, which released a relatively upbeat trading statement this morning, was down 0.1% at 645.5p.

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