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: Uber stock surges as company beats revenue estimates, despite $1.2 billion loss

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Uber Technologies Inc. stock rose sharply Tuesday as the company’s third-quarter revenue climbed 73% year over year, exceeding expectations, and executives issued an optimistic outlook for the current quarter.

After rising as much as 15% in intraday trading, Uber
UBER,
+11.97%

shares ended the day 12% higher, snapping a four-day losing streak, to close at $29.76.

The ride-hailing and delivery giant beat analysts’ revenue expectations, but its gross bookings — although they are up year over year — did not. Uber reported third-quarter overall gross bookings of $29.1 billion, compared with $23.1 billion in the same period last year and shy of the $29.6 billion expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet. Gross bookings for mobility, or rides, totaled $13.68 billion, up from $9.88 billion in the same period a year ago but short of the $13.79 billion analysts expected. Gross bookings for delivery were also $13.68 billion, up from $12.8 billion in the year-ago period but less than the $13.95 billion analysts expected.

Still, Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said in a prepared statement that October is on track to be the company’s best month ever for mobility and total gross bookings.

In response to analysts’ questions about whether economic uncertainty is affecting demand for rides or delivery, the CEO said on the earnings call that “right now we’re not seeing consumer weakness. … Seasonal trends remain the same.”

Chief Financial Officer Nelson Chai said on the call that the company is “more than 100% recovered in terms of pre-pandemic levels globally on mobility.”

And despite analysts’ concerns about the delivery market overall, Khosrowshahi said gross bookings for Uber Eats delivery rose 19%, with the frequency of orders remaining consistent.

As for driver supply, Khosrowshahi said that globally, supply was at “2019 highs” and was about 80% recovered in the United States compared with 2019. “Up-front fares and destinations are a big positive as it relates to driver satisfaction,” he said. Later on the call, he said: “And in the U.S. at least, over 70% of our drivers who are coming on board now said that inflation did play a role in their decision to sign up.”

Asked about a recent proposal by the Department of Labor that could affect how Uber and other gig companies classify their drivers and delivery workers, Khosrowshahi said, “The focus that we have ourselves is working on a state-by-state level.” He cited the company’s winning ballot measure in Californiathough it is in legal limbo — that allowed it to continue to classify workers as independent contractors, and said the trend is working in its favor so far.

Uber slashed its third-quarter loss in half year over year, reporting a net loss of $1.2 billion, or 61 cents a share, compared with a loss of $2.4 billion, or $1.28 a share, in the same period a year ago. The company attributed the loss to investment-related losses, plus stock-based compensation costs.

Revenue rose to $8.3 billion from $4.85 billion in the year-ago quarter. The company also reported free cash flow of $358 million, compared with $524 million in the year-ago period.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast an adjusted loss of 18 cents a share on revenue of $8.1 billion.

Adjusted Ebitda — or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization — was $516 million, an all-time high, compared with $8 million in the year-ago period and beating analysts’ expectation of $456 million. Uber also uses the Ebitda metric to exclude additional items such as costs associated with stock-based compensation.

Uber expects fourth-quarter adjusted Ebitda of $600 million to $630 million and gross bookings of $30 billion to $31 billion. Analysts expect Ebitda of $571 million and gross bookings of $31.99 billion.

Shares of Uber have fallen about 36% so far this year, while the S&P 500 index
SPX,
-0.41%

is down about 19% year to date.

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