Business briefing

The daily business briefing: May 11, 2017

Snap falls short of expectations in first report since IPO, Aetna will pull out of its last 2 state ObamaCare markets, and more


Snap misses expectations in first report as public company

Snap Inc. on Wednesday reported a $2.2 billion first-quarter loss and revenue that fell short of Wall Street's expectations, sending its stock plunging by more than 25 percent in after-hours trading. The company, parent of the messaging app Snapchat, also reported a continued decline in user growth. Snapchat reported 166 million daily active users, up 36 percent from a year earlier. Most of the quarterly loss, nearly $2 billion, came from stock compensation linked to the company's initial public offering. The quarterly results are Snap's first as a public company, following its high-profile March IPO.


Aetna announces pullout from its last 2 ObamaCare markets

Aetna announced Wednesday that it would stop offering ObamaCare health insurance coverage next year in Delaware and Nebraska, the only two states where it is still participating in the Affordable Care Act's individual insurance market. Aetna had already announced it was pulling out of Virginia and Iowa after exiting several other states in 2016. Rival insurers Humana and UnitedHealth Group also have dropped out of most of the government subsidized individual health insurance exchanges. House Republicans voted last week to repeal and replace key elements of ObamaCare, although the measure faces tougher opposition in the Senate.


Tesla starts taking orders for its solar roof tiles

Tesla started taking orders on Wednesday for its new glass solar roof tiles, which will be priced higher than a conventional roof but eliminate the need for traditional solar panels. Tesla will start with two of the four styles of roof tiles it has unveiled — black smooth and textured versions. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that the roof tiles, part of the company's effort to become a one-stop shop for green technology from electric cars to solar power, would pay for themselves in electricity savings over two or three decades of use. The tiles, which will be available this summer, came in priced at $21.85 per square foot, slightly lower than the $24.50 Consumer Reports had predicted.


Bank of England holds interest rates steady, as expected

The Bank of England on Thursday kept its key interest rate steady at 0.25 percent, as expected, in a 7-1 vote. The U.K. central bank also decided not to change its economy stimulating asset purchase program. The bank's policy makers also said they might have to hike rates faster than market data suggest if Britain's exit from the European Union goes smoothly, without hitting the so-called cliff edge by ending the two-year Brexit negotiation period without a clear and reasonable transition process in place. The bank also nudged its forecast for 2017 economic growth down, from 2 percent to 1.9 percent.


EU court adviser says Uber should be licensed like taxis

Uber suffered a setback on Thursday when a senior adviser to the European Union's top court said the ride-sharing service provides a transport service and should be required to be licensed like any taxi business. Uber has argued it merely provides an app to connect riders with drivers. Maciej Szpunar, an advocate general of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg disagreed, saying that Uber is in fact a transport provider, and "cannot be regarded as a mere intermediary between drivers and passengers." The opinion is non-binding, but if the court and governments follow through it could hamper Uber's effort to expand in the region as it struggles to move past recent criticism over its management style and aggressive corporate culture.


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