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Yahoo Posts Loss as Online Advertising Remains Sluggish

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From Reuters

Internet media giant Yahoo Inc. reported its sixth consecutive quarterly loss Wednesday because of lingering weakness in online advertising, but increased forecasts for the rest of the year, saying its momentum was picking up.

However, analysts responded with confusion over whether the higher forecasts for the rest of the year were entirely because of the acquisition of the online career site HotJobs or also showed progress in other areas.

The company closed the acquisition of HotJobs during the first quarter and said it had already started to bring large volumes of job seekers to the site.

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Yahoo shares slipped 2 cents, to $18.44 in regular Nasdaq trading. After the close, when the earnings were announced, the stock rose to nearly $19 before drifting as low as $17.85.

Yahoo reported a first-quarter net loss of $53.7 million, or 9 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $11.5 million, or 2 cents per share, a year earlier. On an operating basis, excluding unusual items, the company turned a profit of $10.5 million, or 2 cents per share, compared with a loss of $11.5 million, or 2 cents per share, last year.

Analysts on average had been looking for an operating profit of 2 cents per share, according to research firm Thomson Financial/First Call. Estimates ranged from 1 cent to 2 cents.

Yahoo said its revenue rose to $192.7 million from $180.2 million in the year-ago first quarter, which was well above forecasts for revenue of $175.3 million.

The company, which has been working for more than a year to reduce its dependence on online advertising by adding more fee-based services, provided little detail on the performance of any such service that has been recently introduced. In a statement, Chief Executive Terry Semel did say that the first-quarter performance reflected the overall success of these efforts.

The company also said it now expects to report second-quarter revenue of between $205 million and $225 million, and to show full-year revenue of between $870 million and $910 million.

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That increase will be at least partly due to the acquisition of the online career site HotJobs, whose results had not previously been included in financial guidance.

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