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Uber Stock Slumps As Lyft Drags Ride-Sharing Lower On Surging Cost Hit To Profit Outlook

"Our driver base is at a post-pandemic high and is more engaged on Uber than on other platforms,: said CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. "Importantly, we expect this trend to continue without significant incremental incentive investments."

Updated at 10:57 am EST

Uber Technologies  (UBER) -  posted a wider-than-expected first quarter loss Wednesday, but said it doesn't expected rising costs linked to driver retainment to hold back near-term growth for bookings or profits.

Uber said its adjusted loss for the three months ending in March came in at $3.04 per share, or $5.9 billion, although most of that was linked to accounting changes linked to the group's stakes in China-based ride hailing company Didi Global  (DIDI) - . March quarter revenues, Uber said, rose 136% from last year to $6.9 billon, well ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $6.13 billion.

Looking into the current quarter, Uber said it sees gross bookings in the region of $28.5 billion to $29.5 billion, compared to analysts' estimates of around $28 billion, with adjusted earnings of between $240 million to $270 million.

“Our results demonstrate just how much progress we’ve made navigating out of the pandemic and how the power of our platform is differentiating our business performance,” said CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. “In April, Mobility Gross Bookings exceeded 2019 levels across all regions and use cases. There’s never been a more exciting time to innovate at Uber and we’re focused on executing our strategy to grow our platform profitably.”

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"Our driver base is at a post-pandemic high and is more engaged on Uber than on other platforms," he added. "Importantly, we expect this trend to continue without significant incremental incentive investments."  

Uber shares were marked 11.55% lower in early Wednesday trading immediately following the earning release to indicate an opening bell price of $26.06 each.

Late Tuesday, Uber's smaller rival Lyft  (LYFT) -  cautioned that rising costs and uneven demand would eat into its bottom line over the next three months.

Lyft, which is struggling to find drivers in an historically competitive job market and surging fuel costs, also said active riders for the three months ending in March fell 18.7 million from the prior quarter. 

That still left adjusted earnings at $54.8 billion, well ahead of forecasts, but Lyft said that figure would plummet to $15 billion over the three months ending in March. 

Lyft shares were marked 34% lower in early trading at $220.28 each., a move that would wipe away more than $3 billion from the San Francisco-based group's market value.