Uber informed its California customers that it would switch to providing estimates as opposed to fixed prices for its rides in response to a new law that makes it harder to qualify its drivers as contractors. Certain rewards for frequent users will also be discontinued, including price protection for routes. On the other side, Uber drivers will now be able to reject requests without penalty.
As per reports, British lenders hiked rates on 21 different credit cards in 2019. Credit card firms, including Barclaycard, Virgin Money, Halifax and Lloyds, all increased interest rates on purchases in 2019. The resulting average interest rate rose to a record high of 25.1%. This comes as Britain’s debt binge deepens. Figures last month showed credit card borrowing had surged by 40%.
Asian stock markets rebounded Thursday as anxiety over potential U.S.-Iranian conflict eased. Tokyo’s benchmark gained more than 2%. Shanghai, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia markets also advanced. India’s Sensex opened 1.3% higher at 41,343.60. On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.5% to 3,253.05. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.6% to 28,745.09.
The World Bank forecast the global economy will grow 2.5% this year, up from 2.4% growth in 2019. That reflects an expected recovery in some emerging and developing countries that had a diffcult 2019. For the US, the World Bank sees GDP growth slowing from 2.3% in 2019 to 1.8% in 2020 and then to 1.7% in 2021 and 2022. In Europe, last year’s 1.1% growth is expected to be followed by 1% this year.
Singapore Airlines has announced that it is diverting all flights from the Iranian airspace. The move comes following a missile attack by Iran on US-led forces in Iraq.
Apple News has racked up more than 100 million active users, and customers spent more than $1.4 billion in the App Store between Christmas and New Year, the company announced Wednesday. The Apple News user base has grown from more than 85 million around this time in 2019. The news-aggregation app currently serves readers in the US, the UK, Australia, and Canada, where it launched last year.
UK bakery chain Greggs has announced a £300 bonus for each of its staff after a ’phenomenal year’. Sales growth has been helped by vegan sausage rolls and a strong demand for its traditional snacks, the chain said. The bonus will be distributed to 19,000 staff who have been with the chain since before 31 March, while the remaining 6,000 will get £75 for each quarter they have worked for Greggs.
The US trade deficit fell to a more than three-year low in November. The Commerce Department said the trade deficit decreased 8.2 per cent to $43.1 billion. The goods trade deficit with China tumbled 15.7 per cent to $26.4 billion, with imports dropping 9.2 per cent and exports jumping 13.7 per cent.
Asian shares and U.S. treasury yields plunged on Wednesday, while gold and oil shot higher after Iran fired rockets at an Iraqi air base that hosts U.S. military forces. Japan’s Nikkei 225 plunged 1.9% by 10:30 PM ET (02:30 GMT), while China’s Shanghai Composite and the SZSE Component dropped 0.7% and 0.3% respectively. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 1.0%. South Korea’s KOSPI also fell 1.0%.
Samsung on Wednesday said quarterly operating profit likely fell at a milder pace than analysts forecast. The company said it expected to report a 34% drop in operating profit at 7.1 trillion won ($6.04 billion) for its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. Its revenue declined 0.5% to 59 trillion won.
Boeing has said it is recommending that pilots receive training in a flight simulator before the grounded 737 Max returns to flying. The recommendation is based on changes to the plane, results from tests involving a small number of pilots, and a commitment to the safe return of the Max, the company added. The final decision on the nature of training will be up to the FAA and other regulators.
Texas-based furniture retailer Pier 1 Imports plans to close almost half its stores and slash jobs as it grapples with growing losses. The company said it will shutter up to 450 of its 936 stores and some distribution centers. Pier 1 has drafted a plan for bankruptcy that would shrink the company to one with about $900 million in yearly sales.
Aston Martin has issued a profit warning after a ’very disappointing’ 2019. Shares of the luxury car maker plunged by as much as 16% after it said annual earnings were expected to fall by nearly half from a year earlier.
Impossible Foods has said it is no longer trying to win a deal to supply McDonald’s with plant-based burgers. It’s not immediately clear how far along the talks between Impossible Foods and McDonald’s were or why they fell apart. Referring to McDonald’s, Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown said ’Having more big customers right now doesn’t do us any good until we scale up production’.