Publicis CEO: business circles are 'optimistic' over Donald Trump

November 18, 2016 6:52 AM EST

Maurice Levy, French advertising group Publicis Chief executive, arrives to attend the company's 2014 annual results presentation in Paris, February 12, 2015. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes


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By Mathieu Rosemain

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Business circles remain optimistic about the future economic policies of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, Publicis Chief Executive Officer Maurice Levy said on Friday.

Levy also expressed caution over prospects for Publicis' fourth quarter, saying they were "rather uncertain", due to companies' reviews of marketing budgets at the end of the year.

"Trump's election, following the initial surprise, was rather reassuring," Levy said in an interview on the sidelines of Morgan Stanley's Technology, Media and Telecoms conference (TMT) in Barcelona.

"Everybody knows that he's a pragmatic... he's not an ideologue at all," added Levy, whose French company is the world's third-biggest advertising group.

Trump's promise to invest heavily in U.S. infrastructure could generate jobs and boost consumer spending, Levy said.

"There's an inconsistency between his promise to cut taxes and his promise to massively invest in infrastructure, but markets only see the big picture, and companies are generally optimistic as well as - above all - the middle-class of consumers, which feels even more optimistic," he said.

The impact on Publicis of Trump's election is likely to be felt during 2017 rather than in the fourth quarter, Levy added.

In October, Publicis had reported that its underlying sales growth had stalled, held back by the previously-flagged loss of large media accounts in the United States in 2015.

WPP (NYSE: WPP), the world's largest advertising group, had also reported last month a slowdown in its underlying sales growth during the third quarter.

Levy said at the time that the fourth quarter would continue to be affected by the loss of some contracts - a cautious outlook which he reiterated on Friday.

"We have some headwinds for which we have already expressed a lot of caution. One can expect a rather uncertain fourth quarter," he said.

Publicis' shares were down 1.4 percent in late session trading, underperforming a 0.3 percent fall on France's benchmark CAC-40 index <.FCHI>.

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain,Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)



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