Strong demand for rides and delivery drives Uber bookings beyond expectations.

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Uber Technologies Inc. reported gross bookings that beat analyst estimates. This indicates strong global demand for rides and food delivery during the holiday period. In the three months ending December 31, gross bookings, which include delivery orders, ride hails and driver and merchant earnings but not tips, were reported at $37.6 billion. This was higher than the analyst expected $37.1 billion.

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi reported that the fourth quarter was unique as it was a standout quarter cap off a year of healthy consumer activity across the world. This trend was reflected in the share prices, which were up 1.6% at midday in New York, nearly doubling over the past year. The company’s improved profitability and increased cash flow has allowed it to proceed with an earlier pledge to return capital to shareholders. As it becomes a financially mature company, Uber is looking to focus on growth as well as making sure that that growth comes with significant profit leverage, as said by Prashanth Mahendra-Rajah, Uber’s new Chief Financial Officer. The results “continue to highlight Uber’s ability to drive profitable growth at scale,” analysts at Needham wrote in a note.

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