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US added only 20,000 jobs last month — fewest since September 2017 – CNN

New York (CNN Business) The US economy added only 20,000 jobs in February , a surprisingly low number that bucked the trend of huge jobs gains in recent months. That was the fewest jobs gained in a month since September 2017. The unemployment rate fell to 3.8%, as fewer unemployed people were looking for work.…

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US added only 20,000 jobs last month — fewest since September 2017 – CNN

New York (CNN Business) The US economy added only 20,000 jobs in February , a surprisingly low number that bucked the trend of huge jobs gains in recent months.
That was the fewest jobs gained in a month since September 2017. The unemployment rate fell to 3.8%, as fewer unemployed people were looking for work. The Labor Department suggested that furloughed workers returning to work after the government shutdown also contributed to the lower unemployment rate.

Economists surveyed by Refinitiv had expected the economy to add 180,000 jobs, saying that the underlying pace of job growth was strong. So this was a big miss. The past two months were revised only slightly.

The numbers may be a sign that after 101 consecutive months of job growth, the economy is running out of available workers. There have been fewer unemployed people than open jobs since June 2018. Read More It may also be more troubling evidence of a slowdown, which has been showing up in other economic data. Employers have been rocked in recent months by a volatile stock market, uncertain political environment and weakness overseas.

However, it could also be a snowstorm-related fluke. “This is pretty much a weather story,” said Scott Brown, chief economist with the investment banking firm Raymond James. The Labor Department noted that 390,000 people reported they couldn’t get to work because of weather, after a relatively mild January. “I wouldn’t worry about the payroll figure at all. I don’t think it tells us much.” In general, it’s never a good idea to read too far into one month of payroll data.

The last three months have still averaged 186,000 jobs, well above the number needed to absorb people entering the labor force. The construction industry lost 31,000 jobs in February, likely due to bad weather. Leisure and hospitality employers added no jobs, after increasing their payrolls by 410,000 over the past year. Manufacturing turned in an anemic month after a year of strong gains. Business and professional services was the one significant category that added jobs. The brightest spot in February’s report was wage growth.

Average hourly earnings have been consistently stronger for the last several months, and posted the largest year-over-year percentage gain since 2009, at 3.4%. Some economists worry whether that pace can be sustained. “The problem is it may be too little, too late.

We’re now looking for a recession lurking around the corner,” said Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at the brokerage Stifel. Also, she said wage gains are concentrated in a few in-demand professions like information technology and accounting. “We’re seeing pockets of wage pressure as opposed to broad-based wage gains.” The number of people working part time for economic reasons plunged by 837,000. That could mean employers brought people on full-time because of the difficulty of finding new employees, although the average workweek declined slightly and many federal workers returned from furlough after the government shutdown. Analysts speculated that despite strong wage gains, the unexpectedly weak report will reinforce the Federal Reserve’s decision to hold off on further rate hikes at its meeting in two weeks. CNN Business’ Matt Egan contributed to this report.

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Lyft IPO — What to know in markets Friday

Lyft takes centerstage on Friday. The ride-sharing company is gearing up to have the biggest tech IPO in two years, at least until rival Uber hits the market. On Thursday evening, Lyft priced its stock at $72 per share , valuing the company at over $20 billion. The stock will debut Friday morning on the…

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Lyft IPO — What to know in markets Friday

Lyft takes centerstage on Friday.
The ride-sharing company is gearing up to have the biggest tech IPO in two years, at least until rival Uber hits the market. On Thursday evening, Lyft priced its stock at $72 per share , valuing the company at over $20 billion. The stock will debut Friday morning on the Nasdaq under the ticker LYFT.

And some Wall Street analysts have initiated coverage of the stock ahead of the highly-anticipated IPO.

DA Davidson was the first to get bulled up on Lyft. On March 19, the firm initiated Lyft as a Buy and slapped a $75 price target on the stock.

Analyst Tom White argued, “LYFT is the #2 player in U.

S. ridesharing, but has grown its market share from 22% to 39% in the past two years. LYFT has benefited from PR/management/operational stumbles at its largest competitor, but is deftly maximizing the benefits by aggressively differentiating its brand/mission around socially-conscious values and corporate responsibility. This is good PR, but also good for business.”
Then on Thursday, Wedbush initiated Lyft as Neutral with an $80 price target. “The brand loyalty of Lyft has been quite impressive as the company continues to attract drivers and riders with its brand associated with corporate responsibility and social values, an impressive formula to go after the $1.2 trillion market spent annually in the US,” analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note to clients.

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance.

Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung .
Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter , Facebook , Instagram , Flipboard , LinkedIn , and reddit .
More from Heidi:
Wall Street analyst is bullish on Shaq and PAPA
Negative earnings growth will weigh on economy: Morgan Stanley
Three reasons why stock market volatility could spike: Wells Fargo
These are the three biggest risks to the U.S.

economy: El-Erian.

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Hong Kong has licensed its first three digital banks — and tech giants may lose out (TCEHY, HSBC, BACHY, BABA, ACN, GS)

Mekebeb Tesfaye 0m This is an excerpt from a story delivered exclusively to Business Insider Intelligence Fintech Briefing subscribers. To receive the full story plus other insights each morning, click here . The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the territory’s de facto central bank, has granted the first set of its long-awaited digital-only banking licenses,…

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Hong Kong has licensed its first three digital banks — and tech giants may lose out (TCEHY, HSBC, BACHY, BABA, ACN, GS)

Mekebeb Tesfaye 0m This is an excerpt from a story delivered exclusively to Business Insider Intelligence Fintech Briefing subscribers. To receive the full story plus other insights each morning, click here . The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the territory’s de facto central bank, has granted the first set of its long-awaited digital-only banking licenses, reports Bloomberg. Business Insider Intelligence The first batch of approvals has been given to firms that have partnered with Standard Chartered, Bank of China Hong Kong, and Chinese digital insurance firm ZhongAn, and the firms intend to begin operating within nine months. Although at least two of the joint ventures — with Standard Chartered and ZhongAn, respectively — had been expected to receive approval, the decision not to award licenses to Chinese tech giants Tencent and Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial has surprised many observers, per the Financial Times. Here’s what it means: The licenses should ignite competition by giving holders access to a hugely profitable banking market where consumers continue to be frustrated by their options.

Hong Kong’s banking sector is heavily dominated by a handful of incumbents.

The four largest lenders — HSBC, Bank of China, Hang Seng Bank, and Standard Chartered — account for 66% of retail banking loans and 77% of mortgages, per Bloomberg citing Goldman Sachs. And their share of the market is lucrative: For example, two-thirds of HSBC’s global profits last year came from its retail and wealth management operations in the territory, reports Reuters. However, the new licenses are anticipated to put up to 30% or $15 billion of Hong Kong’s total banking revenues up for grabs — threatening the big four’s entrenched position. Hong Kong registers among the lowest rates of customer satisfaction for a developed economy due to a lack of banking competition. Only 59% of consumers in Hong Kong say they like their bank, compared with 62% of global consumers and the 74% who say the same in the US. Further, less than half (43%) of bank customers in Hong Kong say they have a positive experience when visiting a bank branch, compared with the 57% of global consumers who say the same; and it’s significantly less than the 74% of US customers who report having a positive experience, per an Accenture survey seen by Business Insider Intelligence. Increased competition ushered in by the new license holders should force the old guard to up their game and ultimately improve these customer satisfaction numbers.

The bigger picture: Hong Kong’s efforts to remedy financial services competition and customer satisfaction may hurt established players, but it could also further entrench the position of some.

Although Hong Kong’s big four could be the biggest losers, the likes of Standard Chartered appear to be getting ahead of the curve. The chronic dissatisfaction of the territory’s digitally savvy consumers is a boon for the newly licensed firms, giving them an opportunity to scoop up customers at pace: 68% of customers use digital channels to check their bank accounts at least once a week, per Accenture. Moreover, while the likes of Ant Financial and Tencent haven’t yet received approval, their potential entry into the market could give the old guard a run for their money. However, the fact that Standard Chartered and Bank of China are among the players to be permitted first suggests established players are already in front of the trend. Given their vast resources and existing reach, the newly approved licensing could be an opportunity to maintain the status quo. So, while the licensing is generally good news for consumers, its business impacts for established and new entrants remain to be seen.

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Here comes Lyft… (LYFT)

John Sciulli/Getty Images for Lyft Lyft , the first ride-hailing company to hit the public market, began trading Friday on the Nasdaq stock exchange. Its shares opened at $87.24, jumping 21% from the $72 where they priced Thursday evening. That brought its valuation to just over $29 billion. Lyft shares gave back some gains in…

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Here comes Lyft… (LYFT)

John Sciulli/Getty Images for Lyft
Lyft , the first ride-hailing company to hit the public market, began trading Friday on the Nasdaq stock exchange. Its shares opened at $87.24, jumping 21% from the $72 where they priced Thursday evening. That brought its valuation to just over $29 billion.

Lyft shares gave back some gains in the afternoon, but the company still carries a market value of roughly $27 billion. Several Wall Street analysts are already bullish on the world’s second-largest ride-share company.

Watch Lyft trade live .
Lyft , the first ride-hailing company to launch on a US public market, began trading Friday morning under the ticker ” LYFT .” Shares jumped 21% to $87.24 apiece as they opened, bringing the valuation to just over $29 billion.
The company priced its initial public offering at $72 per share the evening prior, at the upper-end of its expected range.
But the newly minted stock’s rally was fading by midday, as shares had given up around half of their opening gains by 1 P.

M. ET.

Lyft was trading just above $81 a share, below where they’d opened earlier in the session.

Lyft’s offering raised about $2.69 billion, which it plans to spend on “working capital, operating expenses, and capital expenditures,” as well as acquiring or investing in businesses, according to its S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange and Commission.
While potential investors will have a chance to buy into one of the largest US-listed technology IPOs in recent years, one thing they won’t have is equal say in how the company is run.
That’s because Lyft will have a dual-class structure consisting of Class A and Class B shares. That means outside investors of the former are entitled to one vote per share while shareholders in the latter are entitled to 20 votes per share.

Investor appetite for Lyft’s publicly traded shares was strong heading into Friday’s debut despite the company providing no clear timeline for reaching profitability .
Lyft earlier this week raised its expected IPO range from between $62 and $68 a share to $70 to $72 after its offering was oversubscribed . In other words, demand for its IPO exceeded the number of shares issued.
Read more: READY FOR LYFT OFF: Lyft to IPO today at whopping $21 billion valuation
In the race to go public during what’s expected to be a banner year for high-profile IPOs — with Airbnb, Slack, and Peloton all expected to debut — Lyft is set to beat out rival Uber to the public markets.

“In our opinion while Lyft has clearly benefited from some of the negative PR issues that Uber faced in 2017/early 2018, going forward the battle for market share will be a bit more balanced,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a note to clients earlier this week.
Ives initiated coverage with a “neutral” investment rating and a 12-month price target of $80.
Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:
Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan is retiring Here’s how one expert says Trump’s tax plan prevented a dreaded recession signal and overruled the latest yield-curve inversion Oil set for strongest quarter in a decade on OPEC-led cuts and trade talk optimism Markets Insider.

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