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​Reuters) - Shares of Uber Technologies Inc <UBER.N> rose on Friday after the ride-hailing company laid out an ambitious plan to be profitable by the end of 2020, a year ahead of its previous target as it tries to squash Wall Street doubts over its long-term viability.

Uber shares, which were down almost 50% percent at the end of last year from its public launch, jumped 7% in trade before the bell as investors were also smitten by the company's aggressive plan to cut costs.

Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi is also aiming to bring in more repeat-customer business and try to increase use of premium ride services.

"We give Uber (and its board) major credit for finally listening to investors and putting the brakes on its 1980's Rock Star-like spending habits," brokerage Wedbush Securities said.

Khosrowshahi has been trying to change the company's image since replacing co-founder Travis Kalanick in 2017 after a series of complaints over his behavior.

"(We) believe the focus on quality bookings shows discipline as Uber emphasized the era of growth at all costs is over," analysts at JP Morgan said.

At least 10 brokerages raised price targets after Uber posted quarterly results that beat estimates.

Shares are up at $39.51 in pre-market trading.

Still, some analysts remained skeptical about Uber's investments in the highly competitive food delivery market, which it moved into just a few years ago.

Eric Ross, an analyst at Cascend Securities, said he preferred the stock of Uber's smaller ride-hailing competitor, Lyft Inc <LYFT.O> because it does not invest in expensive side projects.

Uber has vastly diversified its business over the past five years.

While the company has pulled out of food delivery in some major emerging markets to cut costs, it is also developing self-driving cars, working on long-haul trucking operations and even planning commercial passenger drone shuttles.

Uber is also facing regulatory probes over the classification of its drivers for its Rides business as freelancers when they are effectively working full-time for the company and still expects a loss of more than $1 bil




Uber Technologies Inc. (NYSE: UBER) reported fourth-quarter financial results after markets closed Thursday. The ride-sharing firm posted a net loss of $0.64 per share and $4.07 billion in revenue, compared with consensus estimates that were calling for a net loss of $0.67 per share and $4.06 billion in revenue. The same period of last year reportedly had a net loss of $1.98 per share and $2.97 billion in revenue.

During the latest quarter, gross bookings increased 28% year over year to $18.1 billion, up 30% in constant currency. Monthly Active Platform Consumers increased by 22% to 111 million, up from 91 million.

Also, the total number of trips increased 28% year over year to 1.91 billion, compared with the same period last year when Uber reported 1.49 billion trips.

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Adjusted net revenue (ANR) growth accelerated to 41% year over year, or 43% on a constant currency, to $3.73 billion.

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi commented:

2019 was a transformational year for Uber and I’m gratified by our progress, steadily delivering against the commitments we’ve made to our shareholders on our path to profitability. We recognize that the era of growth at all costs is over. In a world where investors increasingly demand not just growth, but profitable growth, we are well-positioned to win through continuous innovation, excellent execution, and the unrivaled scale of our global platform.

Shares of Uber closed Thursday at $37.16, in a post-IPO range of $25.58 to $47.08. The consensus price target is $45.08. Following the announcement, the stock is initially up less than 1% at $37.50 in the after-hours session.

Some things have changed about Valentine’s Day — online cards, makeover segments on morning TV shows, romantic getaways, as well as  cards for dogs, co-workers, relatives, friends, and same-sex couples. 

But some things have not. We still go out to eat for a romantic dinner, and give flowers, gifts, and candy. And we do so more than ever. This year, romance is expected to bloom to the tune of $27.4 billion, up from $20.7 billion, or 32%, from a year ago, according to the National Retail Federation. The NRF said consumers plan to spend an average of $196.31, an increase of 21% from $161.96 a year ago. 

As Valentine’s Day approaches, 24/7 Tempo is taking the opportunity to see what Valentine’s Day looked like in the past by reviewing articles from media sources such as Time, resource sites such as smithsonianmag.com, as well as stories published on the website of greeting card company Hallmark. 

The origins of Valentine’s Day go back to ancient Rome when Romans celebrated the spring festival of Lupercalia on Feb. 15. The day later became associated with martyred Christians who were named Valentine. 

The oldest Valentine is attributed to the Duke of Orleans, who in 1415 wrote a poem to his wife while he was held prisoner in London after the French defeat at the Battle of Agincourt. 

English poet Geoffrey Chaucer, whose works “Parlement of Foules” and “The Complaint of Mars” helped foster our notions of romance, linked Feb. 14 to “amour” because that was when birds began mating. The Bard himself, William Shakespeare, alluded to Valentine’s Day in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and in “Hamlet.”

Sending Valentine’s Day cards began in the early 19th century, and the giving of flowers, chocolate, and other gifts became more widespread in the 19th century, too. Looking to buy chocolate this Valentine’s Day? Here are America’s 30 Best Chocolate Shops. 

To find out what Valentine’s Day looked like in the past, 24/7 Tempo reviewed articles from media sources, resource sites, as well as stories published on the website of greeting card company Hallmark.