The Lead: Yahoo revenue nearly unchanged in Mayer's first year
CEO Marissa Mayer celebrated the anniversary of her move to Yahoo on Tuesday with an earnings release that showed little movement in the Sunnyvale company's total revenues since she took over, with excitement about increasing profits watered down by a continued decrease in Yahoo's core advertising business and trimmed annual forecast.
Yahoo reported net revenue of $1.07 billion, down 1 percent from the same quarter last year, which was the final quarter before Mayer took the helm. She has managed to keep that revenue relatively consistent despite a big drop in Yahoo's display-advertising revenues, which declined 11 percent year-over-year to $423 million.
Yahoo's results did show improved profitability, with the company reporting 46 percent gain in profits from the same quarter last year; the earnings averaged out to 30 cents per share, easily beating the average analyst prediction of 26 cents a share. Still, Yahoo was forced to focus on its difficulty in growing revenues, cutting $50 million from its earlier annual revenue forecast of $4.5 billion to $4.6 billion.
"We have a lot of confidence in our business, but that has yet to translate to revenue growth," Chief Financial Officer Ken Goldman admitted in a video webcast discussing the earnings results Tuesday afternoon.
Analysts and investors were hard on the company: Yahoo stock dropped 1.7 percent to $26.88 in the regular trading session, then declined closer to $26.70 in late trading, while analysts focused on the lighter forecast and declining ad business.
"If there is some kind of genius happening here, it needs to start materializing later this year, and taking your guidance down is not a step in that direction," BGC analyst Colin Gillis told Reuters "We have had eight quarters of decline for the number of display ads sold. And the price per ad dropped significantly this quarter -- that's huge."
B. Riley analyst Sameet Sinha pointed out that Yahoo's full-year revenue could show no gains at this rate.
"They had guided to basically expect some sort of growth in the second half of the year. Now that thing is coming down, and you never know, you might end up the year just being flat in terms of revenue," he told Reuters.
Mayer's plan to turn Yahoo around focuses on increasing user engagement through a cohesive and aggressive mobile strategy -- "Yahoo's future is mobile," the CEO said in Tuesday's webcast. Analysts believe that vision could be years away from coming to fruition, however, and is less of a sure thing the longer it takes.
"It's a lengthy turnaround process," RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney told Bloomberg News. "If she is successful, it will show up in the company's fundamentals two to three years from now."
SV150 market report: Tesla takes large tumble; Google, Apple, Intel eye TV
Wall Street struggled Tuesday, with indexes declining after Coca-Cola dropped after reporting shrinking sales. Silicon Valley tech stocks slightly outperformed the larger indexes, but a hard fall from Tesla Motors (TSLA) kept the SV150 index in the red for the day.
After closing at record highs in four out of last week's five sessions, Tesla plummeted 14.3 percent to $109.05 Tuesday, its worst one-day performance in more than 18 months. Tesla's volume was nearly 4 times its average, as more than 32 million shares changed hands after Goldman Sachs auto analyst Patrick Archambault established a price target on the stock of $84, far lower than the stock's going rate. Archambault reported that Tesla may not be able to sustain the current demand for its cars long-term, and also downgraded the entire auto industry due to fears of increased interest rates.
Three of Silicon Valley's biggest names were connected to ambitions involving television Tuesday. Intel (INTC) confirmed the acquisition of Israeli startup Omek, which makes gesture-recognition technology that could prove handy in the company's development of a set-top box for TVs. Apple (AAPL), which has long been rumored to be developing a television set, was reported to be after Omek rival PrimeSense, which helped develop Microsoft's Kinect. Google (GOOG) is not being left out of this battle, with The Wall Street Journal reporting the Mountain View search giant is discussing an Internet-based television-delivery system with content providers. Intel gained 1.3 percent to $24.25 Tuesday, while Apple increased 0.6 percent to $430.20 and Google dropped 0.6 percent from Monday's record highs to $919.61.
San Jose integrated-circuits company Power Integrations had its second consecutive session of strong increases, gaining 5 percent to $51.82 for a two-day gain of 16.5 percent. Tesla CEO Elon Musk did not find any salvation in his "other" Silicon Valley company, as SolarCity dropped 8.7 percent to $40.76.
The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Down 1.19, or 0.09 percent, to 1,269.30
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Down 8.99, or 0.25 percent, to 3,598.5
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Down 32.41, or 0.21 percent, to 15,451.85
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Down 6.24, or 0.37 percent, to 1,676.26
Check in weekday afternoons for the 60-Second Business Break, a summary of news from Mercury News staff writers, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and other wire services. Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/mercbizbreak.