Thursday saw another horror show on Wall Street, with the Dow tanking 200 points over the weaker-than-anticipated GDP number and the shaky job market (the U.S. unemployment rate rose to 5.7% today).
Still, tech stocks seemed to navigate the tumult of bad news in surprisingly robust fashion. We covered Motorola yesterday and its stock is on the upswing. Same with Symantec, and Cablevision, and Dell, which saw its stock rise 2.4% on a Cowen & Co. upgrade.
Even Yahoo was up a tick or two, in anticipation of a quiet shareholder meeting today (Friday). Call it anticlimactic, but the deal struck between Carl Icahn and Jerry Yang to place three Icahn cronies on the Yahoo board in exchange for the corporate takeover artist to give up his proxy fight over control of Yahoo, had dampened the steel-cage match mindset going into today's meeting. Hell, Icahn reportedly had no plans to even show up at the Yahoo board meeting.
"It will not do shareholders or Yahoo any good to have the annual meeting turn into a media event for no purpose." wrote Icahn in a blog post Thursday.
Still, early reports on the board meeting show some fireworks going off. Yahoo Board Chairman Roy Bostock took the floor in front of an unfriendly audience and played "let's vent" with the crowd. Here's a snippet of Bostock's remarks . . .
-- (On calls for Yahoo board members to produce time sheets to shareholders): "I'd welcome it. It's been "26 hours in a 24 hour day" in recent months.
-- Bostock says there's been "a great deal of misinformation and misunderstanding" surrounding the company. "There was never a conversation in which we didn't discuss shareholder value" in the Microsoft imbroglio.
-- "There WAS NEVER ANY DOUBT about the position of this board....At no point did...we ever resist Microsoft's proposal. In fact, we proactively engaged with them."
-- Bostock also says that Yahoo was ready to engage in discussions at $33 a share, despite that never being put in writing. Then Microsoft withdrew. "To this day, I cannot understand why they did that."
-- On the future, Bostock says that Yahoo management has embarked on "an ambitious strategic plan during this difficult time . . . and hitting targets in Q1 and Q2 was an astounding achievement."
-- When asked to step down by Yahoo shareholder Eric Jackson, Bostock retorted "the answer is no."
Bostock's bold tone should be the highlight around cocktail hour tonight among Yahoo shareholders. Besides, after all they've been through, that crowd could use a stiff drink.