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Uber’s Stock Plunges 6% on Growing Losses

Uber’s stock tanked after the company reported dismal second-quarter earnings that missed analyst expectations with widening losses. 

The company said it lost $5.24 billion during the second quarter, which was more than five times larger than in the same quarter last year.

Excluding the $3.9 billion stock compensation and $282 million driver appreciation award associated with its initial public offering earlier this year, Uber would have lost $1.04 billion. By that yardstick, the loss was 18% greater than during the same quarter last year.

Meanwhile, Uber reported $3.17 billion in quarterly revenue, up 14% from the same period last year. That amount fell short of the $3.36 billion that analysts had predicted.

Following the earnings report, Uber’s stock initially plummeted 12% to $37.78 in after-hours trading. However, the shares recovered later somewhat, to $41.20, or a 6% decline.  

During an earnings call with investors, an analyst asked CEO Dara Khosrowshahi how he's trying to increase revenue growth without widening losses even more.

“The balance between top and bottom line is more of an art rather than a science,” Khosrowshahi responded. “If I told you we had this scientific formula that we’re solving here, we’d be lying to you.”

Khosrowshahi went on to emphasize the growth in the number of trips Uber provided to passengers in the quarter. The number of trips rose 35% to 1.68 billion in the quarter, driven by a surge in international users and customers of its food-delivery service. 

Uber also reported that for the first time that it now has more than 100 million active users of all its services, up 30% from last year.

Eats, Uber's food delivery service, continues to show rapid growth, increasing users by 140% and revenue by 72% in the quarter. Meanwhile, Uber’s core ride-hailing service revenue rose a mere 2%, showing that it has saturated the market.

On Thursday, Uber also provided financial guidance for the first time as a public company. It expects this year's gross bookings, which is the cost of an Uber trip including taxes, tolls, and fees, of $65 billion to $67 billion. Annual losses, excluding interest, taxes, and other costs will be $3 billion to $3.2 billion. 

“We know we have a lot more work to do here, and we continue to work on balancing investments and profit improvements,” said Nelson Chai, Uber's chief financial officer.

Uber also said it expects a stock-based compensation expense of between $450 million and $500 million during the third quarter.

The earnings follow last month's news that Uber planned to lay off 400 employees as part of a consolidation of its global marketing staff. During the earnings call, Khosrowshahi said previous decentralization of some its teams helped the company to innovate and move quickly. But now, as a larger, public company, it needed to “tune” its teams to serve its current needs. 

Khosrowshahi also teased more features coming to Uber's carpooling service, though he didn’t specify what that may be. He also suggested that Eats could branch out into other categories including groceries. 

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