The Lead: Yelp moves into food delivery, stock hits all-time high
The little social stock that could reached another record high Tuesday, as San Francisco customer-reviews website Yelp took a large leap after announcing a new venture that will allow customers to order food for delivery directly from its website and mobile apps.
Yelp reached an all-time intraday high of $37.66 Tuesday before closing with a 6.7 percent jump at a record closing price of $37.24. The increase came after co-founder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman announced at a VentureBeat conference that the site would begin offering San Francisco and New York members the ability to interact with businesses reviewed on Yelp directly on the company's platform.
"The idea is that there are all these consumers shopping on the site, and Yelp Platform allows them to take that next step -- to transact," Stoppelman told VentureBeat. "The Yelp experience is all about going to local businesses. As you switch between different services, you as the consumer will have a one-stop shop."
The service is starting small, focused on about 100 restaurants in S.F. and N.Y. through partnerships with Eat24 and Delivery.com, but Yelp's blog post on the service mentions expanding its across the U.S. as well as to other services, such as appointments for spas and dentists.
The move is part of Stoppelman's plans to focus on the businesses in each local area Yelp covers, expecting those businesses to then advertise with the service. The executive told the MobileBeat conference Tuesday that Yelp's micro focus will help it as the rest of Silicon Valley takes a wider view of commerce.
"We come in every day thinking about how to build the best local services, gather the best local content that is of the highest quality, the most useful, and present that to users. If you are Larry Page at Google (GOOG), his first idea every morning is probably not what's going in on each city and how to support local communities," he said.
Google CEO Page is focusing on local delivery, however, along with a host of other tech giants. eBay (EBAY) is testing same-day delivery of goods in the Bay Area, Amazon is moving toward grocery delivery in the region, and Wal-Mart is testing retail delivery.
"Everybody is assessing (local delivery services) -- whether or not they want to pursue it, and whether or not they can," Bruce Cohen, a retailer and consumer strategist with Kurt Salmon in San Francisco, told The Mercury News earlier last year. "For businesses, it's innovate or step aside."
Yelp's experiment seems small-scale for now, with deliveries handled through a partnership instead of attempting to set up its own infrastructure for the offering. Those partners could be unlikely to move along with Yelp into smaller, more spread-out areas than the urban centers of San Francisco and New York, but the effort could pay off just in those two cities, Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair told Bloomberg News.
"It's too early to tell how easily this could extend beyond cities like San Francisco and New York, but even if it only catches on in major urban centers, it will drive revenues and more closely tie users into regular use of Yelp."
Yelp's iOS app, as well as its mobile and desktop sites, were updated with the offering Tuesday, according to the blog post, while an updated Android app is in the works.
SV150 market report: Record-high for Tesla, Intuitive Surgical plummets
Yelp's rise was one of many Tuesday on Wall Street, as all three major indexes gained, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq reaching its highest point since the dot-com crash. Silicon Valley stocks outperformed the larger markets, as large- and mid-cap stocks rose in tandem.
Tesla Motors (TSLA) reached yet another record high, cracking $125 a share for the first time before closing with a 1.5 percent gain to $123.45 as Nasdaq announced that the Palo Alto electric car maker would replace Oracle (ORCL) on the Nasdaq 100 index. Oracle, which announced that it would move its listing from Nasdaq to the New York Stock Exchange during its latest quarterly earnings announcement, dropped 0.4 percent to $31.51, though one analyst found that stocks added to the index generally underperform those that leave.
Apple, the largest Silicon Valley tech company, helped push the SV150 to gains with a 1.8 percent bump to $422.35, as the company dropped its lawsuit against Amazon over the use of the term "appstore." Netflix (NFLX) neared a 52-week high before closing with a 6.1 percent gain at $247.38 while announcing that it would begin using videocasts for its earning conference calls, which caused some consternation. Facebook increased 3.1 percent to $25.48 despite concerns about the expansion of Graph Search, and Santa Clara chip-equipment company Applied Materials gained 3.4 percent to $15.66 after CEO Mike Splinter said he expects to collect more revenue from growth in the mobile sector. Yahoo (YHOO) gained 4.5 percent to $26.67, Cisco (CSCO) moved 2.2 percent higher to $25.16, and Gilead gained 2 percent to $54.38.
On the negative side, Intuitive Surgical suffered its worst trading session in five years after announcing poor preliminary sales for its primary product, the da Vinci surgical robot; the Sunnyvale company's stock plunged 16.2 percent to $419.30, hitting a 52-week low. Intel (INTC) continued its slide on concerns about revenue growth, dropping 0.2 percent to $23.14, and SunPower (SPWRA) declined 3 percent to $23.10 while its CEO talked up the quality of the San Jose company's solar products.
Up: Yelp, Netflix, Yahoo, Applied Materials, Facebook, SolarCity, Cisco, Juniper, Gilead, Apple, Zynga, Tesla, eBay, Adobe (ADBE), Advanced Micro Devices, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), VMware, NetApp, Workday
Down: Pandora, SunPower, LinkedIn, Oracle, Intel
The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Up 10.96, or 0.87 percent, to 1,265.47
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Up 19.43, or 0.56 percent, to 3,504.26
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Up 75.65, or 0.5 percent, to 15,300.34
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Up 11.86, or 0.72 percent, to 1,652.32
Check in weekday afternoons for the 60-Second Business Break, a summary of news from Mercury News staff writers, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and other wire services. Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/mercbizbreak.