Yahoo-Microsoft deal: Back from the dead?

Is Yahoo (YHOO) playing hard to get with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)? Investors who have bid up shares of the internet portal today sure hope not.

Yahoo's shares, down more than 56 percent over the past year, have rebounded lately. The stock has eked out about a two percent gain this year amid speculation that Yahoo and Microsoft will do some sort of a deal involving their search businesses.

That talk was rekindled again today after media reports indicated that Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer would like to have a chat with his counterpart at Yahoo, Carol Bartz about search, a market which Microsoft has so far failed to crack.