Shares of AT&T rose Thursday after the telecom giant’s first-quarter results topped analyst expectations. The company’s wireless division, its largest unit, added 595,000 phone customers who pay a monthly bill, up from 163,000 in the same period in 2020. It also added 207,000 prepaid phone customers. In the WarnerMedia entertainment unit, revenue rose 9.8 percent to $8.5 billion. The company doesn’t break out how many people sign up for its streaming service, HBO Max, but said there are now 44.2 million subscribers to HBO Max or the traditional HBO channel in the US. Entertainment companies have launched several new streaming services in the past couple years in an effort to gain on Netflix and as the audience for traditional TV shrinks. AT&T also signed up 46,000 home internet customers and lost 620,000 video customers. AT&T is spinning off its DirecTV business after having lost about 60 percent of its satellite and cable TV customer base since buying DirecTV in 2015. The Dallas company reported first-quarter net income of $7.55 billion, or $1.04 per share. Adjusted for one-time items, they came to 86 cents per share, beating the average estimate of 77 cents per share from 16 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.
Oil prices dropped Monday amid concerns that a surge in COVID-19 cases in India could hamper demand. Brent crude futures dropped by more than a dollar, or 1.7 percent, to $65.00 a barrel as of 8:30 a.m. ET. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down about a dollar, or 1.6 percent, at $61.15 a barrel. Monday’s dip comes after both benchmarks fell about 1 percent last week. While some parts of the world, including the US and China, have flashed signs of a strong recovery from the pandemic, the outbreak in India — the third-largest importer of crude oil in the world — is more severe than ever. Daily new cases of the virus and deaths caused by COVID-19 are at all-time highs in India, prompting the US and other countries to send supplies like supplemental oxygen to support the country. A worsening COVID-19 health crisis in India pressuring oil prices.REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas Bloomberg reported that India’s oil refiners have started to cut production in response. Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals has cut processing rates and the Indian Oil Corp. has failed to issue an expected order of West African crude, Bloomberg reported. Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg told Reuters that traders
Uber passengers can now book COVID-19 vaccine appointments at Walgreens drugstores across the US through the ride-hailing app, Uber said Wednesday. The vaccine-booking tool is an expansion of a previously announced partnership with Walgreens in which Uber said it would offer some free rides to people so they can get to their appointments. “We’re committed to helping ensure that transportation is not a barrier to getting vaccinated. We know that by making it easier to get to an appointment, more people will get vaccinated,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said. “By partnering with Walgreens, our goal is to make getting that shot as easy as booking a ride with Uber.” With more people getting vaccinated and the easing of pandemic-induced restrictions, Uber is angling for a rebound from the steep losses it suffered in 2020. The company’s ride-hailing business has already shown an impressive recovery, recording its best month yet in March. Uber said it will allow users to book vaccine appointments at Walgreens locations across the country through its app. Indeed, both Uber and Lyft have had to boost worker pay recently as demand for their services soars amid the waning pandemic in the US. The vaccine-appointment feature is part