What to Watch: Uber shares climb, Credit Suisse CEO quits, Calisen IPO

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
In this photo illustration, Uber logo is seen displayed on a phone screen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on January 11, 2020. (Photo illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Here are the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and abroad:

Uber shares pop after profitability target shift

Shares in Uber are up by more than 7% in pre-market trading after the ride-hailing giant said that it would achieve a measure of profitability in the fourth quarter of 2020, a year earlier than expected.

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company would cut costs, focus on repeat-customer business and try to increase the use of its premium ride-hailing offerings.

Total revenue in Uber’s fourth quarter climbed by 37% to $4.07bn compared to the same period in the previous year, broadly in line with analyst expectations.

Losses deepend to $1.1bn, however, from $887m in the previous year.

During a call with investors on Thursday, Uber said it expected to be profitable on an adjusted EBITDA basis by the fourth quarter of 2020, versus previous guidance for profitability by the end of 2021.

“We recognize that the era of growth at all costs is over,” Khosrowshahi said in a statement.

“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.”

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Credit Suisse CEO quits over spying scandal

Credit Suisse (CS) chief executive Tidjane Thiam on Friday resigned in the wake of a spying scandal at the bank.

The board of the Swiss lender said in a statement it “unanimously accepted” Thiam’s resignation and appointed company veteran Thomas Gottstein as its new chief executive.

Thiam’s resignation follows a spying scandal that shocked the world of Swiss banking. Iqbal Khan, formerly head of Credit Suisse’s wealth management division, was tailed by private investigators working on behalf of the bank last year, leading to a public confrontation in Zurich.

The incident led to the resignation of Credit Suisse’s chief operating officer Pierre-Olivier Bouée in October. However, it emerged at the end of last year that a second Credit Suisse executive had also been followed.

UK house price growth slows in January

House prices grew by 0.4% in January, representing a slowing of growth and raising questions about the housing market’s positive momentum.

The figure, from January’s Halifax House Price Index, was much lower than the 1.8% month-on-month growth seen in December, and the 1% growth from November.

Halifax described the figure as a “modest” monthly increase, noting that year-on-year growth remained relatively stable at 4.1%.

“A number of important market indicators continue to show signs of improvement,” Halifax said on Friday.

“We have seen a pick-up in transactions with more buyer and seller activity consistent with a reduction in uncertainty in the UK economy. However, it’s too early to say if a corner has been turned.”

The average price of a UK home was £240,054 ($310,000) in January.

Burberry shuts shops over coronavirus

The coronavirus epidemic in China has forced British luxury brand Burberry (BRBY.L) to shut shops in the region.

Burberry said on Friday it had closed 24 of its 64 mainland China stores in the wake of the outbreak of novel coronavirus that has claimed over 600 lives.

Burberry chief executive Marco Gobbetti warned the epidemic was “having a material negative effect on luxury demand”.

“While we cannot currently predict how long this situation will last, we remain confident in our strategy,” Gobbetti said in a statement.

“In the meantime, we are taking mitigating actions and every precaution to help ensure the safety and wellbeing of our employees.

“We are extremely grateful for the incredible effort of our teams and our immediate thoughts are with the people directly impacted by this global health emergency.”

Smart meter group Calisen hits £1.3bn valuation in first post-Brexit IPO

Shares in UK smart meter company Calisen (CLSN.L) climbed by as much as 4% on Friday, their first day of trading on the London Stock Exchange.

Calisen reached a £1.32bn ($1.71bn) valuation by floating around 25% of the company, becoming the first UK firm to list on the stock exchange since June’s Trainline (TRN.L) initial public offering (IPO).

The Manchester-based smart meter company, which is backed by US private equity giant KKR, raised close to £329m as part of the move, issuing shares at 240p, within its expected price range.

KKR acquired its stake in Calisen, whose Calvin Capital unit leases smart meters to utility companies, in 2016.

The UK government is pushing energy suppliers to install smart meters in homes in England, Wales and Scotland, hoping that doing so will help consumers better keep track of their energy usage.

Stocks fall in Europe

European stocks fell on Friday, a day after reaching new highs on the back of China’s move to cut tariffs on the US and receding fears about the coronavirus epidemic.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (^STOXX) was down by more than 0.3%.

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) index was down by almost 0.7% in London, while Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) was down by 0.4%. France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) declined by more than 0.2%.

The declines in Europe followed a weak trading session in Asia. The Hang Seng (^HSI) was 0.33% down at market close. Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) fell by almost 0.2%.

What to expect in the US

Futures are pointing to a lower open for US stocks.

S&P 500 futures (ES=F) are down by 0.36% and Dow Jones Industrial Average futures (YM=F) are down by 0.36%. Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) are down by 0.45%.