Yahoo Earnings Beat Forecasts

Internet media giant Yahoo! Inc. Wednesday reported its fifth straight quarterly loss, reflecting its struggles with the weak online advertising market, but it also posted an operating profit that beat most expectations.

The company also announced that Jeff Mallett, its longtime president and chief operating officer, will step down later this year. And it provided some new guidance for 2002 sales and earnings guidance that is at the high end of current analyst estimates.

Yahoo, reporting results for one of the most challenging periods in its history, said it lost $8.7 million or two cents per share in the quarter, compared with a loss of $97.8 million or 17 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.

Revenues fell to $188.9 million from $310.9 million in the year-ago quarter.

On an operating basis, excluding unusual items, Yahoo reported a profit of $16.7 million or three cents per share, compared with an operating profit of $80.2 million or 13 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. Analysts on average had been forecasting an operating profit of a penny a share.

"They did a good job in terms of top and bottom lines," said CIBC Oppenheimer analyst John Corcoran. "It looks like they did a good job in growing revenues."

Yahoo shares rose following the earnings report. After closing the regular trading session down $1.60 a share at $17.87, they were quoted around $18.43 per share in aftermarket activity.

Yahoo said Wednesday that it now expects to report an operating profit for 2002 of seven cents to 10 cents per share. Analysts have been forecasting a profit of nine cents, according to a survey by research firm Thomson Financial/First Call.

The company said it expects to report a first-quarter operating profit of one cent to two cents per share, which is also at the high end of existing estimates. And it said first-quarter and full year revenues are likely to exceed existing forecasts.