Uber sees strong bookings in fourth quarter as riders return

Shares of Uber are surging before the markets open today after the ride-hailing company gave a fourth-quarter forecast indicating that consumers are growing increasingly more comfortable using the service now that pandemic fears have mostly eased.

Uber Technologies Inc. announced that it foresees fourth-quarter gross bookings rising 23% to 27% year over year on a constant-currency basis, totaling $30 billion to $31 billion.

For the third quarter, gross bookings increased 26% to $29.1 billion, or 32% on a constant-currency basis. Trips grew 19% to about 21 million trips a day, on average.

The bookings are a bright spot for San Francisco-based Uber, as its ride-hailing service struggled during the pandemic amid lockdowns. But with vaccinations and boosters and the easing of lockdown restrictions, many individuals are traveling more and heading back to offices and restaurants.

“Uber is continuing to see healthy growth as the driver shortage is essentially over while the company continues to benefit from travel returning, shifting to the office, and other post-pandemic trends continue to hold globally with Uber poised to benefit into 2023,” Wedbush’s Dan Ives wrote in a client note.

Third-quarter revenue rose to $8.34 billion from $4.85 billion. This beat the expectations of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research, who predicted $8.08 billion in revenue.

Shares rose more than 9% in premarket trading.

“Even as the macroeconomic environment remains uncertain, Uber’s core business is stronger than ever,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement.

Uber lost $1.21 billion, or 61 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30. That compares with a wider loss of $2.42 billion, or $1.28 per share, a year earlier. Wall Street was looking for a loss of 17 cents per share.