The market doesn't like Yahoo!'s (Nasdaq: YHOO) fourth quarter.

Shares of the dot-com juggernaut fell as much as 4% today as investors digested last night's numbers and fretted over Yahoo!'s guidance.

Revenue fell 4% to $1.205 million after backing out traffic acquisition costs. A 16% surge in display advertising revenue was offset by an 18% plunge on the search side. If you back out divestitures over the past year -- including Zimbra and HotJobs -- adjusted revenue would have inched 3% higher. Organic growth should be lower, as the company didn't further break down its adjusted performance to back out recent acquisitions including Associated Content and Dapper.

Yahoo!'s top-line performance isn't going to impress anybody. Revenue accelerated at Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), climbing 26% during the same three months. When Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) reports tomorrow night, it's a safe bet that Bing's growth will also surpass Yahoo!'s pedestrian revenue performance. It will be ironic, naturally, since handing Bing its search business is likely the root of its fading relevance in search.

Thankfully, things get better on the way down to the bottom line. Earnings more than doubled to $0.24 a share -- or $0.26 a share before restructuring charges. A good chunk of that comes from Microsoft kicking in some serious reimbursements for transition expenses and search operating costs.

Going by Mr. Market's reaction, better than expected profitability isn't enough. Investors need real growth out of Yahoo!. It also didn't help that its guidance for the current quarter calls for sharp sequential dips in revenue and operating profits

It's not a surprise to see Demand Media (NYSE: DMD) pop higher during today's IPO. The content producer -- a larger article and video syndicator than Yahoo!'s Associated Content -- is now valued at nearly $2 billion. It has yet to turn an annual profit, but revenue grew nicely during the recession and accelerated last year. 

Instead of layoffs, divestitures, or fretting about Bing's poor ad-matching skills, Yahoo!'s best bet is to crack open its piggy bank flush with $3.7 billion in cash and go shopping on needle-moving acquisitions.

It has come up short in rumored buyout bids for Foursquare and Groupon, but there are still plenty of sexy Web 2.0 names that can turn heads.

Yahoo! is doing well in display. It's still the category killer in email, finance, and sports, but these are tricky portals to monetize (outside of Yahoo! Finance). Its lucrative Asian investments will keep Yahoo!'s price from falling too far at this point, but it will need to buy its way out of the teens.

Yahoo! knows what the market wants. It has the greenbacks to make it happen. Spending more money on buybacks and cost-cutting its way to chunkier margins only delay the shopping spree that has to happen.

What did you think of Yahoo!'s quarter last night? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz doesn't mind taking out the garbage every so often. He does not own any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.