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Yahoo prez puts money where her mouth is

Yahoo president buys $1.1 million worth of stock in vote of confidence in company's future

All too often execs are exercising options and making money by getting rid of shares of their company stock. But Yahoo President Sue Decker is bucking that trend.

Decker paid about $1.1 million to buy roughly 47,000 shares of Yahoo stock this week in a sign that she thinks the company's future is bright.

Her purchases, which began a day after the stock hit a three-year low of $22.44 on Monday, were revealed in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Meanwhile, the man who was at the helm of Yahoo for the past six years until stepping down this summer--Terry Semel--isn't showing quite so much confidence in the company. Semel exercised options for more than 180,000 shares this week, buying them for $8.23 each and then selling them at prices ranging between $22.94 and $23.57.

In a research note, JP Morgan praised Decker's action: "Usually, the buying and selling of stock by management is part of the normal landscape of business. However, we believe that this isolated incidence is evidence of increasing management confidence in company performance. This is in-line with our thesis that Yahoo has positioned itself for recovery in both the search and display advertising markets."

The report was mum on Semel's move.

Yahoo, which is struggling to regain its footing after ceding the search and search ad market to the younger Google, replaced Semel with co-founder Jerry Yang in June and named Decker, former chief financial officer, as president. Many observers believe Decker is being groomed for the top spot.