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After today's close, Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) reported fourth quarter results which slightly beat Street expectations, but also provided guidance for the first quarter and all of 2007 that will almost certainly disappoint investors.

On the other hand, Yahoo also now says it will roll out the final phase of Panama, its new advertising system, about a month ahead of schedule, news that will almost certainty make the Street equally happy.

For the fourth quarter, the company reported revenue excluding traffic acquisition costs of $1.228 billion, just ahead of the Street consensus of $1.22 billion. The company reported net income of 19 cents a share; or 16 cents a share if you exclude a tax adjustment but include stock-options expenses, or 21 cents a share if you exclude stock options. I’m frankly not sure which number the Street was using; but the consensus of 13 cents a share was below all of them. (I suspect the comparable number is 21 cents.)

Ah, but here’s the rub. Buried back on page 10 of the press release (I almost missed it, I confess) the company said it expects revenue excluding traffic acquisition costs of $1.12 billion to $1.23 billion in the quarter, and $4.95 billion to $5.45 billion for all of 2007; the Street has been expecting $1.26 billion for the quarter, and $5.47 billion for the full year. Not good.

Yahoo sees operating income before depreciation, amortization and stock-based compensation of $420 million to $480 million in the first quarter; that would be down from $540 million in the fourth quarter. For the full year, Yahoo sees OIBDA less stock-options expense of $1.95 billion to $2.2 billion; that compares to $1.906 billion in 2006.

In after hours trading, Yahoo shares are up $1.18 to $28.14, an increase which likely has more to do with the news on Panama that it does the reported results.

YHOO 1-yr chart:

YHOO 1-yr chart

Source: Yahoo Issues Weak Forward Guidance, Announces Early 'Panama' Roll Out