Business briefing

The daily business briefing: April 20, 2022

Netflix shares dive after 1st quarterly subscriber loss in years, Uber and Lyft end mask requirement after ruling, and more

1

Netflix shares plunge after subscriber loss

Netflix shares dropped by as much as 25 percent in after-market trading on Tuesday after the streaming video company reported that it lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022, its first quarterly subscriber loss in more than a decade. Netflix, which has 221.6 million subscribers globally, had been expected to gain 2.5 million subscribers. The company said it was forecasting a loss of another 2 million subscribers in the second quarter. Netflix's fourth-quarter profit was $1.5 billion, down from $1.7 billion in the same period a year earlier. Revenue was up 9.8 percent to $7.8 billion. Netflix's stock has dropped 40 percent this year on concerns about its growth.

2

Uber, Lyft end mask requirement

Uber and Lyft decided Tuesday to stop requiring U.S. drivers and riders to wear masks following a Monday decision by a federal judge in Florida that struck down the Biden administration's COVID-19 face-covering mandate in planes and public transit. "Remember: Many people still feel safer wearing a mask because of personal or family health situations, so please be respectful of their preferences," Uber said in a statement. "And if you ever feel uncomfortable, you can always cancel the trip." Uber also said it would allow passengers to ride in the front next to the driver, lifting a requirement that they ride in the back to provide social distance and reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

3

Greece seizes Russian oil tanker

Greece has seized a Russian-owned oil tanker in the Aegean Sea in accordance with European Union sanctions imposed over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, a Greek coast guard spokesperson said Tuesday. The 750-foot oil tanker, the Pegas, had 19 Russian crew members on board when it was hobbled by engine problems and seized on April 15. The engine problems meant it had to be towed by tugboats toward Greece's Peloponnese peninsula, where its oil was to be transferred to another vessel. It was seized after rough seas forced the crew to moor the ship off Karystos, on the southern coast of the island of Evia. Greek authorities also have frozen bank accounts and other assets of Russians in the country.

4

Moderna says new booster helps against coronavirus variants

Moderna reported Tuesday that preliminary data suggest its updated COVID-19 booster, which adds protection against the Omicron coronavirus variant to its original vaccine, shows promise in fighting Omicron and other coronavirus variants. Moderna hopes to offer a new version of the booster in the fall. It started developing the new version before the Omicron wave, aiming to combine protection against the original coronavirus and an earlier variant known as Beta. The company said people who got the combination vaccine produced more antibodies to fight Omicron and other variants than current, approved boosters did. The extra protection was limited, but Moderna hopes to fine-tune a booster to target Omicron specifically. "These results really give us hope," said Dr. Jacqueline Miller, a Moderna vice president.

5

Stock futures mixed ahead of more earnings

U.S. stock futures were mixed early Wednesday as investors awaited more corporate earnings reports. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.1 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET. Futures linked to the S&P 500 were flat. Nasdaq futures were down 0.1 percent. Streaming video companies, including Disney, Roku, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Paramount fell after Netflix reported its first quarterly subscriber loss in more than a decade, sending its stock plummeting overnight. IBM shares gained more than 1 percent in after-hours trading after it reported better-than-expected earnings. The three main U.S. stock indexes surged on Tuesday. The Dow and the S&P 500 rose 1.5 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. The Nasdaq jumped 2.2 percent.

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