Friday morning was a bit of a downer on Wall Street, as major market indexes lost ground despite some positive signs on the economic front. The latest employment report from January showed gains of 225,000 jobs to start 2020, and the unemployment rate remained near historic lows at 3.6%. Yet even with this good economic news, investors seemed ready to give back some of the huge gains that the markets have enjoyed earlier in the week. As of 11 a.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) was down 190 points to 29,190. The S&P 500 (^GSPC -1.02%) fell 11 points to 3,335, and the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) dropped 28 points to 9,545.
But even though the day got off to a gloomy start, some individual companies enjoyed much sunnier prospects. Uber Technologies (UBER 1.88%) delivered solid performance in its quarterly financial report, and social media star Pinterest (PINS 4.87%) followed suit with an even more encouraging picture.
Uber gets the green light
Shares of Uber Technologies rose 8% after the ride-hailing service reported its fourth-quarter financial results. The company has been controversial since well before its IPO last year, but with a strategic shift from the executive team and assurances that losses will turn into profits before the year is out, it looks as though investors are growing more optimistic about Uber's long-term prospects.
Uber's numbers were solid. Gross bookings climbed by 28% to $18.1 billion, with outsized growth of 73% for the Uber Eats unit. Revenue growth came in at 37%, accelerating from the third quarter's 30% growth rate. Net losses were still substantial at $1.1 billion, but investors were generally pleased with the numbers.
More important were CEO Dara Khosrowshahi's comments. Characterizing 2019 as a "transformation year for Uber," the CEO said that he's gotten the market's message that growth at all costs will no longer work going forward. By taking measures to reduce expenses, boost demand for its premium ride options, and make Uber Eats more efficient, Uber hopes to make a profit by the fourth quarter of 2020 -- sooner than its previous 2021 target.
Investors have punished many upstart tech companies recently because they haven't shown a path to profitability, so the shift in vision from Uber is important. Now it's up to the company to figure out how to get into the green by the end of the year -- but shareholders appear optimistic.
Pinterest gets liked
Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2019 grew 46% from year-ago levels, closing the 2019 year with 51% sales growth compared to 2018. Adjusted net income jumped 55% year over year. Moreover, Pinterest's monthly active user count rose by 26% to 335 million, and its average revenue per user grew at a 15% clip to $1.22.
Investors also seemed pleased at Pinterest's upbeat guidance. The company predicted that revenue in 2020 could come in as high as $1.52 billion, as Pinterest seeks to focus on making its content more relevant and tying more smoothly to advertising and shopping opportunities in order to bolster the platform's value to marketing clients.
Pinterest shares have had a wild ride since last April's IPO , but even though it's still down almost 30% from its highs, the stock has rebounded nicely from its worst levels last fall. If it can keep moving forward, then Pinterest could make its early investors happy in the end.