For Yahoo!, Earnings Means More of the Same

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Updated from 1:48 p.m. to include information about Alibaba quarter in the fifth paragraph.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- For Yahoo! investors, second-quarter earnings may wind up being like a broken record: the core business is stable, but not growing much, if at all, and it's all about Alibaba. The company reports earnings Tuesday after the market close.

On Yahoo!'s first-quarter earnings call, CEO Marissa Mayer noted the company introduced several new products, including Yahoo! Gemini, "the first unified ad marketplace for mobile search and native advertising," as well as Yahoo! Ad Manager Plus buying platform. "The opportunity here is to leverage our powerful combination of ad technology, optimization expertise, rich data and targeting for advertisers to connect with target audiences on the Yahoo! network and elsewhere in our publisher network," Mayer said on the call.

Despite the recent product launches, Yahoo!'s core business has remained relatively flat for years, only just starting to see modest growth. First-quarter display revenue excluding traffic acquisition costs was $409 million, a 2% increase year over year. The number of ads increased 7% year-over-year, but the price per ad continued to trend lower, falling 5% over the same time frame.

Search revenue jumped 9% year-over-year, rising to $444 million ex-TAC, as paid clicks increased approximately 6% compared to the first quarter of 2013, and price-per-click increased approximately 8% during the same timeframe.

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Has Marissa Mayer Done Enough?

For the second quarter, analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect Yahoo! to earn 38 cents a share on $1.084 billion in sales, up just 1.3% year over year and flat sequentially. Traditionally, investors have looked to Yahoo! as a proxy for Alibaba's results, but the Chinese-based company recently filed an updated F-1 filing, detailing first quarter numbers. Alibaba had Y5.54 billion in net income on Y12.03 billion in revenue in its first quarter.

Mayer was encouraged by the slight uptick in the first quarter, noting that display revenue growth, albeit modest, is at "a point of stable to modest growth."  Competitors like Google  and Facebook  are seeing much stronger advertising revenue, but a return to that kind of hyper-growth will take "multiple years" for Yahoo!, according to Mayer.

The hyper growth can't come fast enough for Yahoo!, as Mayer reshapes the company. Research firm eMarketer now projects that while Yahoo! ad revenue will rise 2.7% in 2014, the company's share of the overall online advertising market will continue to shrink, accounting for just 2.52% of the market. "At the same time, Microsoft will grow its net worldwide ad revenues by more than 20% this year to reach $3.56 billion, eMarketer estimates, accounting for 2.54% of the market -- just enough to just surpass Yahoo," eMarketer said in a press release this morning.