Employers post fewer openings in June; Uber ride app bookings up 24% |

US job openings fell to 10.7 million in June

WASHINGTON — U.S. employers posted fewer job openings in June as the economy grapples with runaway inflation and rising interest rates.

The Labor Department said Aug. 2 that job postings fell to 10.7 million in June from 11.3 million in May. In its monthly Job Openings and Job Rotation Survey, the agency said the number of Americans leaving jobs fell slightly in June, while layoffs declined.

The labor market has been resilient so far this year: employers have added an average of 457,000 jobs per month in 2022; and unemployment is near its lowest level in 50 years.

Despite the loss, Uber is gaining ground in 2T

SAN FRANCISCO — Uber continued to gain momentum in the second quarter as Americans returned to offices and gross bookings hit an all-time high as anxiety over COVID-19 eased.

Riders made a total of 1.87 billion trips on Uber in the spring and early summer, a 24% increase from the same period last year, according to figures released Aug. 2. That’s about 21 million trips per day, on average.

Monthly active platform consumers increased 21% from the prior year period to 122 million.

Revenue more than doubled to $8.07 billion, supported by a change in business model for its UK mobility business and the acquisition of Transplace by Uber Freight, beating the $7.36 billion forecast by analysts polled by FactSet.

Gross bookings jumped 33% to $29.08 billion, an all-time high, and Uber Technologies Inc. forecast third-quarter gross bookings of $29 billion to $30 billion.

Wall Street ignored a huge $2.6 billion loss for the quarter. It included a $1.7 billion net headwind related to Uber’s equity investments and $470 million in stock-based compensation charges.

Airbnb posts profit on record bookings

NEW YORK – Airbnb said Aug. 2 it earned $379 million in the second quarter from record bookings and rising rates, and the short-term rental giant announced a plan to spend up to $2 billions of dollars to buy its own shares.

The results showed a reversal of losses from the second quarter of last year and 2019.

Airbnb has taken advantage of increased travel and the exodus of office workers, freeing them to work just about anywhere they can get internet access.

Second-quarter bookings were about a quarter higher than last year and 2019. The San Francisco-based company said customers were making more international bookings. Listings outside major cities were up nearly 50% from the second quarter of 2019, although Airbnb said urban listings were up from the previous three months.

Caterpillar posts $1.67 billion gain as it raises prices

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Caterpillar had a strong second quarter and beat most earnings expectations as higher machine prices offset rising costs.

The manufacturer published on August 2 a quarterly profit of 1.67 billion dollars, or 3.13 dollars. Earnings per share were $3.18 without one-time costs or benefits, 18 cents better than Wall Street had expected, according to a survey of industry analysts by Zacks Investment Research.

The company made $14.25 billion in revenue, roughly in line with analyst forecasts.

Operating profit margin for the quarter was 13.6%, down slightly from 13.9% last year.

“Volumes were well below our expectations as (Caterpillar) and its supply base continue to face inefficiencies,” Citi analyst Timothy Thein wrote.

BP’s profits triple thanks to soaring oil and gas prices

LONDON — BP’s profits tripled in the second quarter as the British energy giant benefited from soaring oil and natural gas prices after Russia invaded Ukraine.

London-based BP said on Tuesday that underlying replacement cost profit, which excludes one-time items and fluctuations in inventory value, jumped to $8.45 billion in the same period a year earlier. Soaring profits have seen BP return billions of dollars to shareholders, with the company increasing its dividend by 10% and announcing it will buy back $3.5 billion worth of shares. BP said it plans to increase its dividends by around 4% per year until 2025.

But the good news for shareholders was bad news for consumers, as soaring energy prices contribute to the cost of living crisis in Britain and around the world.

In the UK, where inflation hit a 40-year high of 9.4% in June, the government announced a 25% windfall profits tax on oil and gas company profits from UK operations . BP said it plans to set aside $800 million to cover the tax increase.

Stephen King testifies in book merger trial

WASHINGTON — Best-selling author Stephen King testified in a federal antitrust lawsuit Aug. 2, tracing his own story beginning as an unknown author in the 1970s.

King also portrayed a publishing industry that has become increasingly concentrated over the years.

He testified as a witness for the US Department of Justice.

The government is trying to convince a federal judge that the proposed merger of Penguin Random House and its rival Simon & Schuster, two of the world’s largest publishers, would hinder competition.

In his testimony, King described himself as “a freelance writer.” He said the publisher “consolidation is bad for competition.”

Americas boost Ferrari profits by 22%

MILAN — Italian luxury carmaker Ferrari raised its 2022 forecast on Tuesday after reporting a 22% increase in second-quarter profits as sales in the Americas surged.

The high-performance luxury sports car maker reported net profits of $257 million from April to June, compared with 206 million euros for the same period of 2021. Revenue rose by a quarter.

Ferrari, based in the northern Italian town of Maranello, raised its net revenue forecast to 4.9 billion euros, from 4.8 billion euros, and set at 1.7 billion the bottom of the range, instead of the top, for adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Shipments during the period rose 29%, to 3,455 vehicles, from the second quarter of 2021. This was driven by the Americas, where sales more than doubled from 649 to 1,053 cars.

Traditional internal combustion engines dominated deliveries, at around 83%, while the three hybrid engine models only accounted for 17% of sales.

Robinhood fined $30 million for bending banking rules

NEW YORK — The crypto division of financial services firm Robinhood will pay a $30 million fine to New York State for failing to comply with regulations governing money laundering and cybersecurity.

The New York Department of Financial Services said on August 2 that a review of Robinhood Crypto’s operations from January 24, 2019 to September 30, 2019 revealed serious compliance deficiencies. Among other issues, department officials said the company did not provide a dedicated consumer complaints phone number on its website. Robinhood’s associate general counsel, Cheryl Crumpton, said the company has made significant progress in complying with banking regulations.

BA suspends sales of short-haul flights to Healthrow

LONDON – British Airways has announced it is suspending sales of short-haul flights from London’s Heathrow Airport for two weeks.

The decision announced Aug. 2 responds to the airport’s request to limit bookings to help ease travel disruption caused by surging demand and staff shortages.

The suspension applies to new bookings on UK domestic and European services departing from Heathrow, Britain’s busiest airport. Passengers can still book short-haul flights to the airport. The airline says it is taking action after Heathrow capped the number of daily departing passengers at 100,000 until September 11. British Airways said it had decided to “take responsible action and limit the fares available on certain Heathrow services”.

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