Yahoo chief reassures shareholders

Yahoo chairman Terry Semel remained upbeat as he faced shareholders who have watched their investments shrivel while rival Google sprinted further ahead in the online advertising race, an Associated Press report said.

'Yahoo has staked out a strong competitive position and "&brkbar; we are better positioned than we have ever been before,' Semel, during Yahoo's annual meeting, was quoted by the report as saying.

The Associated Press report said the gathering gave shareholders a chance to air their frustration with an 18% drop in the company's stock price since last year's meeting. The downturn has wiped out about $10 billion in shareholder wealth.

Meanwhile, Google shares have surged by 32% during the same period, giving it a market value of nearly $160 billion, more than four times greater than Yahoo, which was the larger of the two Internet icons when Google went public in August 2004, the report said.

Only one shareholder, Naples, Florida, money manager Eric Jackson, chastised Semel for Yahoo's inability to keep pace with Google, the report said.

Although few of the roughly 150 shareholders at the meeting stepped up to the microphone to question Semel, some used their ballots to express their discontent with the company's board of directors, the report further said.