Yahoo Under-performs--Again

Yahoo's first-quarter earnings came in below expectations. Prior to yesterday's call, there had been some investor optimism over the better-than-expected performance of Yahoo's Panama search advertising system, but all that was erased as the company reported an 11 percent profit decline of $958 million on sales of $1.67 billion.

However, CFO Sue Decker put on a brave face during the call, attributing the decline to the phase out of Microsoft's search business (which was announced 18 months ago now), and the rising cost of driving to Yahoo sites. She said wider adoption of Panama and strategic partnerships with eBay and its PayPal unit would spur future growth.

The most recent profit decline sent Yahoo's stock tumbling 8 percent in after hours trading to $29.48. "Results were well below heightened expectations, and the growth does not justify the value," Goldman Sachs analyst Anthony Noto wrote in a research note. That could mean CEO Terry Semel's days are numbered. Analysts agree. Most believe that Decker would take the helm if Semel were to step down.

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