Yahoo adds advice to finance section

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Internet powerhouse Yahoo Inc. will begin dispensing advice about personal finances in its latest bid to bolster its own finances.

The new money management package, scheduled to make its debut Thursday night, is being offered as an extension of Yahoo's decade-old finance section -- one of the Web's top-ranked destinations for business and investment information.

Yahoo decided to widen its focus to include more simple money matters because many people are more interested in balancing their checkbooks than juggling their stock portfolios, said Scott Moore, who runs the Sunnyvale-based company's news and information division.

The personal finance section will include tips and tools for household budgeting, tax planning, careers, real estate and debt management. Most of the content will be provided by other sources, including The Wall Street Journal, The Motley Fool, Consumer Reports and CNNMoney.com.

By reaching out to a broader audience, Yahoo hopes to lure more advertisers and accelerate recently lackluster revenue growth that has lagged far behind the pace of Internet search leader Google Inc. That gap is expected to be accentuated again during the next two weeks as Yahoo and Google report their fourth-quarter earnings.

Yahoo's decelerating growth has disillusioned investors, contributing to a 28% decline in the company's stock price since 2005. Yahoo shares fell 93 cents Thursday to close at $28.12 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

A slowdown in financial services advertising late last year exacerbated Yahoo's misery, but Moore said the company already was already developing a personal finance section before that problem cropped up.

The personal finance initiative represents the third new information channel launched in the past eight months, following sections revolving around technology and food -- two other advertising magnets.

"All of these (sections) are designed to provide advertisers with more opportunities to reach our audience," Moore said.

Yahoo also is battling to maintain its status as the most visited Web site in the United States, although many analysts give the company little hope of holding on to those bragging rights now that Google owns the heavily trafficked video sharing site, YouTube.

Finance is one of the areas where Yahoo holds a huge advantage over Google, which branched into the field just 10 months ago. With 9.6 million U.S. visitors in December, Yahoo's finance section ranked second behind Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Money, according to comScore Media Metrix. Google's finance section didn't draw enough traffic to show up on Media Metrix's listings.
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