Yahoo! Shines In Dark Times

What? Some good news about an Internet company? Stand back, we’re running with this baby.

Portal giant Yahoo! (YHOO) weighed in after Wednesday’s market close with a Q1 report that showed earnings topping analysts’ estimates as well as street “whisper” numbers.

It wasn’t the first time Yahoo! has posted profits and exceeded expectations. But coming as it did amidst market turbulence that has rocked the confidence of many Internet investors and sent dozens of stocks into a virtual freefall, it was undoubtedly welcome news to investors.

Yahoo! has joined other stocks in the plunge, falling from a closing price of 200 3/4 on March 27 to 160 1/8 on Monday — a drop of 20.2 percent — before bouncing back slightly. Shares closed Wednesday at 165 9/16.

Wednesday’s announcement came after the market had closed.

In the first quarter, ended March 31, Yahoo! reported net income of $77.9 million, or 13 cents per diluted share. Consensus analysts’ estimates called for a net profit of 9 cents per share, with the whisper number another 2 cents per share higher.

In the year-ago quarter, Yahoo! had net income of $1.8 million, which was break-even in terms of per-share profit.

Revenue in Q1 was $228.4 million, more than double the $103.9 million from the first quarter of 1999.

We won’t begin seeing many other Q1 earnings reports until after next week, so Yahoo!’s earnings may be the only tangible positive news for a major Internet stock in the meantime. And while it’s too much to expect Yahoo! to carry the rest of its market on its back, the quarterly report at least reminds stunned investors that some Internet business models can work.

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