NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly a year after its initial public offering and lackluster growth, the company behind Snapchat is making a comeback.
Shares of Snap Inc. are up sharply in extended trading following stronger-than-expected revenue and solid user growth for the company’s fourth quarter.
Snap, known for its disappearing photo and video messaging app, posted a 72 percent revenue increase in the final three months of 2017, to $285.7 million. It also had a larger net loss, totaling $350 million compared with $169.9 million a year earlier. That’s largely due to stock compensation expenses related to its IPO in March 2017.
Snapchat’s daily active users grew by 5 percent from the previous quarter to 187 million. This represented the highest daily net user additions since the third quarter of 2016. This increase seemed to calm investor fears that Snapchat is a mere has-been destined to get trampled by Facebook, which has copied some of Snapchat’s most important features.
On a per-share basis, the Venice, California-based company said it had a loss of 28 cents. Losses, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were 13 cents per share.
The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for a loss of 15 cents per share.
Snap is working on redesigning its app to separate what friends share and what media organizations publish in an attempt to appeal to a broader range of users. CEO Evan Spiegel said in a conference call Tuesday that the company is “pleased with the initial results” and the redesign will be available to all Snapchat users in the first quarter.
Snap’s stock jumped 19 percent to $16.74 in after-hours trading on Tuesday. The stock had closed at $14.06 in regular trading.
Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on SNAP at https://www.zacks.com/ap/SNAP
MALE, Maldives (AP) — Three Maldives Supreme Court justices on Tuesday annulled their own order to free a group of imprisoned opposition politicians after two of the court’s justices were arrested amid a political crisis in the Indian Ocean archipelago nation.
The new ruling came as President Yameen Abdul Gayoom moved to assert his power over the court, declaring a state of emergency and ordering security forces to raid the court compound where the justices were arrested.
Political turmoil has swept the Maldives since the surprise court ruling last week ordering the release of the opposition leaders, including many of Yameen’s main political rivals.
The annulment of that order was announced in a court statement issued late Tuesday night after Yameen issued a state of emergency for the country that restricted citizens’ rights and was internationally condemned. He also labeled the original court ruling a coup and a plot.
“This is not a state of war, epidemic or natural disaster. This is something more dangerous,” Yameen said on national television. “This is an obstruction of the very ability of the state to function.”
Yameen has rolled back a series of democratic reforms during his five years in office and said that the court overstepped its authority in ordering the politicians released, saying the order “blatantly disrupts the systems of checks and balances.”
The emergency decree gives officials sweeping powers to make arrests, search and seize property and restrict freedom of assembly.
“This state of emergency is the only way I can determine how deep this plot, this coup, goes,” Yameen said.
Meanwhile, Yameen’s main political rival called on India to send an envoy — backed by its military — to free the imprisoned justices and opposition leaders.
Exiled former President Mohammed Nasheed, who was among the opposition politicians ordered freed and who is now in neighboring Sri Lanka, said in a statement that Yameen “has illegally declared martial law and overrun the state. We must remove him from power,” calling for the Indian envoy and military to be sent. “We are asking for a physical presence.”
He also called on the U.S. to stop Maldives government officials from making transactions through U.S. banks.
There was no immediate response from India or the United States, though both have called on Yameen to obey the original Supreme Court order.
The spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was seriously concerned about the declaration of a state of emergency and the entry of security forces into the Supreme Court premises.
“The secretary-general urges the government of the Maldives to uphold the constitution and rule of law, lift the state of emergency as soon as possible, and take all measures to ensure the safety and security of the people in the country, including members of the judiciary,” said the spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.
Yameen has cracked down on civil liberties since coming to power in 2013, imprisoning or forcing into exile nearly every politician who opposes him.
Hours after the emergency was declared, security forces in riot gear and blue camouflage stormed the Supreme Court building, arresting two judges, including Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed. It was not immediately clear what charges they faced, if any.
Security forces also arrested former dictator and opposition politician Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who could be seen on cellphone video taken by his daughter being quietly escorted from his home, hugging friends and family and waving to supporters before being driven away.
His lawyer, Maumoon Hameed, said Gayoom faced charges including bribery and attempting to overthrow the government.
Gayoom was president from 1978 to 2008, when the Maldives became a multiparty democracy.
The Maldives is an archipelago of more than 1,000 islands with fewer than 400,000 citizens, more than one-third of them living in the crowded capital city, Male. Tourism now dominates the economy, with wealthy foreigners flown to hyper-expensive resort islands.
But it remains, in many ways, a small community. Gayoom, the former dictator, is the half brother of President Yameen. The two men are now political enemies. Nasheed, the opposition leader, unseated Gayoom in the country’s first democratic elections in 2008. He and Gayoom are now political allies in an opposition alliance.
Nasheed resigned from the presidency following protests over the arrest of a judge. He lost the 2013 election to Yameen, then was convicted under Maldives’ anti-terrorism laws in a trial widely criticized by international rights groups.
Nasheed said after last week’s ruling that he would mount a fresh challenge for the presidency later this year.
China, Australia, the United States, Finland and Denmark updated their travel advice during the latest unrest. China urged people to avoid travel there and the others told citizens to be cautious.
While there was no immediate sign of India preparing to send troops to the Maldives, New Delhi does have a history of military involvement there.
In 1988, Sri Lankan militants working for a Maldivian businessman tried to take control of the country and seized many government buildings.
Then-President Gayoom asked for Indian military help to drive back the militants. India dispatched 1,600 paratroopers, who quickly restored Gayoom’s control.
This version corrects that the Maldives Supreme Court has five members, not four.
Separated in age by about a decade, Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin head to the Pyeongchang Olympics as the past, present and future of ski racing in the United States and around the world.
In the World Cup, their sport’s annual measuring stick, Vonn, 33, owns four overall titles; Shiffrin, who turns 23 in March, is on pace for her second. Vonn has won 81 World Cup races, a record for a woman and second most for anyone in history; Shiffrin is halfway there.
Each claimed an Olympic gold medal in her specialty: Vonn in the downhill in 2010; Shiffrin in the slalom in 2014, when Vonn was out after right knee surgery. Now, with the opening ceremony in South Korea on Friday, arrives the first — and, presumably, last — chance for them to share the spotlight at a Winter Games.
“The regard they have for each other is extraordinary. Lindsey is such an incredible, achieved athlete, and Mikaela looks at her that way, in awe of her. And at the same time, Lindsey is clearly in awe of Mikaela’s accomplishments, as is the entire world, of course,” U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association CEO Tiger Shaw said. “You have two of the most powerful women in the athletic world, and they’re both battling for their own goals, and they both want to achieve as many medals as possible in these Olympics.”
Vonn will be an overwhelming favorite in the downhill in South Korea, having won the last three World Cup races in that event. She also could contend in the other speed event, the super-G, and the combined, which adds the time from one downhill run and one slalom.
Shiffrin, meanwhile, can — indeed, will be expected to — become the first with consecutive slalom golds; she won five of the past six World Cup slaloms she entered. She also could win a medal in the other technical event, the giant slalom, along with the combined, and is likely to be in the starting hut for speed events, too.
“I like to try to understand what makes them tick and makes them so great,” Shaw said of the American team’s two best racers, “and then we try to bottle that up and make the other athletes understand what that is, so they can use it, too.”
There are, to be sure, connections between Vonn and Shiffrin, who are both based in Colorado.
Their widely lauded work ethic and fitness training.
Their desire to help promote ski racing and attract new fans and new athletes, particularly girls.
And, of course, the comparisons perpetuated by others.
“It’s so ingrained. They always compare Mikaela to Lindsey Vonn. … It’s a normal thing for people to do,” said Shiffrin’s mother, Eileen, who is one of her coaches. “But Mikaela, right from the get-go, always said: ‘I’m not Lindsey. I’m not The Next Lindsey Vonn; I’m Mikaela Shiffrin. That’s who I am. That’s who I want to be. I don’t want to be Lindsey Vonn. And I don’t want to … follow in her footsteps. Or any of those things. We’re not even doing the same events, for Pete’s sake. So I’m not The Next Lindsey Vonn.'”
There is, though, a mutual admiration.
“Lindsey was one of my really biggest idols growing up. And I still have an enormous respect for her. The career she’s had, the focus and energy that she puts into this sport,” said the younger Shiffrin, who studies video of Vonn’s downhill runs. “So to hear anybody with the kind of success that she’s had say anything remotely positive about me is very flattering.”
Vonn does have plenty of nice things to say about Shiffrin.
During one recent interview, for example, she called Shiffrin an “amazingly talented skier” and praised her as someone who “works incredibly hard” and who “definitely has a lot of possibilities in front of her.”
While their careers have overlapped, they have not faced off much for a variety of factors. Among them: time Vonn lost to injuries, her focus on the downhill and super-G — she’s entered zero slaloms since 2013 — and Shiffrin’s relatively recent venturing into those events.
So while the two collected a combined 194 top-three finishes in World Cup races, they did so on the same day only once.
That was on Jan. 19, when Vonn was second and Shiffrin third in a downhill at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.
“It’s weird that we haven’t been on the podium together before. Because we’ve both been successful, just not at the same time,” Vonn said. “It was really fun. We’re going to be on the podium a lot more together in the future, which is great.”
Perhaps as soon as this month in South Korea.
But who knows for how much longer that will even be a possibility? Vonn plans to compete for another World Cup season with two aims in mind: She wants to get permission for a barrier-breaking race against men and plans to eclipse Ingemar Stenmark’s mark of 86 career victories.
If — when? — she does the latter, it could be just a matter of time until Shiffrin betters Vonn’s record. After all, Shiffrin’s 41 World Cup wins are the most for someone before her 23rd birthday and a remarkable 34 more than Vonn accumulated by that age. Yes, you read that correctly: 34 more.
Back during preseason training in New Zealand in 2015, Vonn and Shiffrin — rivals on the slopes, American teammates off — met at a coffee shop for hot cocoa and their first extended chat.
They talked about life and family and, of course, skiing, and the idea of going head-to-head as Shiffrin prepared to expand her repertoire to include the speed races that have been Vonn’s domain for years and years.
“I have a feeling,” Shiffrin said shortly after that heart-to-heart, “it could be one of those things where she’s not going to give it to me, and I’m sure as heck not going to give it to her.”
AP Sports Writer Andrew Dampf contributed to this report.
More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org/
CHICAGO (AP) — Five years after the largest mass closure of public schools in an American city, Chicago is forging ahead with a plan to shutter four more in one of the city’s highest-crime and most impoverished areas.
School officials are pitching the new closures around Englewood, a neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, to make way for a new $85 million school they insist will better serve students and reverse low enrollment. But some parents, students and activists are skeptical, saying they’re still reeling from the 2013 closures and the latest plan will make things worse, including the displacement of hundreds of mostly black and poor teenagers.
“The last thing they should do is close our schools,” said 16-year-old Miracle Boyd, a student at John Hope College Prep, which could close. “They aren’t the ones sitting in those chairs five days a week struggling to learn because we don’t have the necessities we need as students. … Why not use the $85 million to improve our education and get our schools on the road to success?”
Like other cities, Chicago has long relied on closures to address underperforming and underutilized schools. Significant closures have taken place in Philadelphia, Detroit and St. Louis, but Chicago made history when it closed roughly 50 schools, affecting more than 12,000 students in mostly African-American and Latino neighborhoods.
The debate over Chicago’s latest proposed closures has exploded, with shouting matches and emotional pleas during community meetings. Residents have pleaded with the district to invest more in neighborhood schools and safety. Some have alleged that racial politics are at play. And they worry by pulling students out of schools near their homes and placing them in ones farther away, they are putting them in danger of gang members who will view them as the enemy just by virtue of their address.
Chicago Public Schools says nothing is final until an expected Feb. 28 board vote. The nation’s third-largest school district argues it’s tried to boost enrollment and resources to the four schools, but it hasn’t helped.
The changes coincide with a major drop in black residents. Roughly 180,000 people moved from Chicago from 2000 to 2010, according to census data. In Englewood, about 10 miles from downtown, fewer than 500 students are enrolled in the four schools. As a result, one freshmen class has only 17 students and another school doesn’t offer science.
“We have to move these kids. They don’t have enough support in these buildings,” schools chief Janice Jackson said. “We can’t sit by and continue to watch people leave.”
The new school, which would open in 2019, will enroll only freshmen at the beginning, and upperclassmen will be left to attend nearby schools. The district expects to spend millions on the transition, including on individualized plans to help students at risk of dropping out, paid summer job programs and possible shuttle buses to transport students.
Research on the benefits of school closures is mixed. In 2017, the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado Boulder compiled research finding that even when students transferred to higher-performing schools, those students saw an achievement drop in the first year and marginal gains later on.
“There’s no ground to stand on for saying this will improve the educational opportunities,” said Pauline Lipman, a University of Illinois at Chicago professor who has studied closures.
Chicago Public Schools officials disagree.
With past closures, they’ve emphasized cost savings. This time, they’ve pitched the proposal as a more desirable option for students. Renderings of the new school tout outdoor sports facilities and a community health center. City officials say it complements other recent investment in Englewood, including a new lower-cost Whole Foods.
But critics, including neighborhood activists and unions, say the district didn’t do enough to address problems it helped create and there’s a lack of trust, especially after two consecutive CPS leaders left office under scandal. The Chicago Teachers Union blames the city’s push for charter schools. Roughly 90 percent of Englewood’s students travel beyond neighborhood boundaries for school.
Experts say property values will drop, vacant buildings are magnets for street crime and sending students to new schools could put their lives at risk.
“What people don’t understand is that if you are 16 years old and get on a bus, when you get off that bus you are gang-affiliated whether you are gang-affiliated or not,” said activist Jitu Brown.
Tensions between students from different Chicago neighborhoods attending the same school have erupted in violence before. In 2009, 16-year-old honor student Derrion Albert was fatally beaten after getting caught in the middle of such a clash. The attack involving students from Fenger High School on Chicago’s South Side was captured on cellphone video that was viewed online worldwide.
In Englewood, crime is still high despite a significant drop in homicides and shootings there last year. The violence that remains is startling considering the dwindling population. Demographers say Englewood’s population decreased from 59,000 residents in 1980 to 26,000 by 2015. In 2016, there were 86 homicides in Englewood, up from 37 the year before.
The Chicago district has had trouble selling and repurposing buildings since 2013 and had to loosen guidelines for potential buyers. There are now about 27 schools on that list, but more than a dozen remain empty, including several in Englewood.
Among them is Yale Elementary School, which singing and acting star Jennifer Hudson attended. The eerily quiet brick building sits near boarded-up homes and empty lots. Letters on the school sign have fallen off.
Under the new proposal, one school would remain vacant, two would be taken over by existing charter schools and one would be demolished for the new school.
Not everyone opposes the district’s plan.
“It would be a catalyst for new growth in the area. It gives us something that we can build on, here in Englewood,” said Theodria Constanoplis, 74.
She has lived in Englewood most of her life, and one of her grandchildren could attend the new school.
Still, some educators remain skeptical, saying the closures mark the end of an era.
Harper High School theater teacher Michael Buino said his students can compete with those who attend schools considered to be Chicago’s best. Michelle Obama, who is from Chicago, visited Harper High in 2013 while still first lady.
“Come to my classroom and see for yourselves,” Buino said at a recent community forum. “And then tell me Harper is not worth saving.”
Follow Sophia Tareen on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sophiatareen .
Dow plunges 1,175 points in worst day for stocks since 2011
NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market ended a wild day with its biggest drop in six and a half years as the Dow Jones industrial average briefly plunged nearly 1,600 points. The index ended down 1,175, its biggest point drop of all time and its worst percentage decline since August 2011. A market rout that began Friday because of worries over inflation and higher interest rates deepened, erasing the gains the market accumulated in the first few weeks of the year.
US economy still fundamentally strong despite falling stocks
WASHINGTON (AP) — A wave of fear about inflation and higher interest rates has sent stock prices tumbling and raised concerns about corporate profits. Yet the rush of anxiety has obscured a fundamental fact about the U.S. economy: It’s healthy. Nearly nine year into the expansion that followed the Great Recession, the job market is strong. So is the housing market. Consumer confidence is solid, and manufacturing has made a comeback. And households and businesses are spending freely.
Powell sworn in as new Fed chair amid stock market sell-off
WASHINGTON (AP) — Jerome Powell was sworn in Monday as the 16th chairman of the Federal Reserve on what turned out to be a turbulent day for Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged by more than 1,100 points. Powell pledged in a video message that he and his colleagues would remain “vigilant” to any emerging economic risks.
Google spinoff and Uber trade jabs in court
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google’s self-driving car spin-off and ride-hailing service Uber opened a trial over an alleged high-tech heist with dueling arguments depicting each other as conniving companies willing to go to expensive extremes to gain a competitive advantage. Lawyers for Google-bred Waymo likened Uber to Rosie Ruiz, one of the most notorious cheaters in sports history, as they set out to prove accusations that the ride-hailing service tried to catch up in the race to build self-driving cars by using technology stolen by Anthony Levandowski, a former star engineer.
Ram truck ad using MLK speech draws backlash
NEW YORK (AP) — Some critics say a Ram truck ad that uses a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. crosses the line. The ad shows people doing community service projects and urges people to be “great” by serving the greater good. Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University, says the ad’s use of King to promote Ram trucks “strikes many people as crass and inappropriate.” Professor Kelly O’Keefe of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Brandcenter says, “They pushed it over the edge.”
Lululemon’s CEO resigns over issue of conduct
NEW YORK (AP) — Lululemon Athletica Inc. says Laurent Potdevin has resigned as CEO and from the board, effective immediately, saying he fell short of standards of conduct. The Vancouver-based company didn’t give specific details but said it expects all employees to exemplify the “highest level of integrity and respect for one another.” It said it was starting a search for a new CEO.
SpaceX bucks launch tradition in 1st flight of new rocket
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX is bucking decades of launch tradition for the first test flight of its new megarocket. The Falcon Heavy is set to blast off Tuesday afternoon from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. But forget about your usual launch-debut ballast. The Heavy rocket will be hauling up a red sports convertible with a space-suited dummy at the wheel and David Bowie’s Space Oddity on the soundtrack. It’s the inspiration of Elon Musk, the high-tech maverick who heads SpaceX and electric car maker Tesla.
Broadcom raises Qualcomm bid to more than $121 billion
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Broadcom is boosting its takeover offer for chipmaker Qualcomm to more than $121 billion in cash and stock in what would be the largest tech deal ever. Broadcom said Monday that it has made its ‘best and final offer.’
The Dow Jones industrial average finished down 1,175.21 points, or 4.6 percent, at 24,345.75. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index skidded 113.19 points, or 4.1 percent, to 2,648.94. The Nasdaq composite fell 273.42 points, or 3.8 percent, to 6,967.53. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks sank 56.18 points, or 3.6 percent, for 1,491.09.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell $1.30, or 2 percent, to $64.15 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, lost 96 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $67.62 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline lost 3 cents to $1.85 a gallon. Heating oil shed 3 cents to $2.02 a gallon. Natural gas sank 10 cents to $2.75 per 1,000 cubic feet.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Jerome Powell was sworn in Monday as the 16th chairman of the Federal Reserve on what turned out to be a turbulent day for Wall Street, with the Dow Jones industrial average plunging by more than 1,100 points.
Powell, 65, was given the oath of office by Randal Quarles, the Fed’s vice chairman for supervision, in a ceremony that took place before stock trading opened on Wall Street.
In a pre-recorded video message, Powell did not mention the recent turbulence in financial markets, which saw the Dow shedding 666 points on Friday. That was followed by a decline of 1,175.21 points on Monday, a drop of 4.6 percent, the worst one-day loss in percentage terms in 6 ½ half years.
Powell pledged that he and his colleagues would remain “vigilant” to any emerging economic risks.
Powell succeeds Janet Yellen, the first woman to lead the nation’s central bank in its 100-year history. President Donald Trump picked Powell after deciding to break with recent tradition and not offer Yellen a second four-year term.
Part of the market unease has been attributed to fears that rising wages and higher inflation could prompt the central bank to raise rates more quickly than investors had been expecting. Some analysts said the big sell-off over the last two days may end up taking some pressure off the Fed to hike rates again soon, given that lower stock prices would ease fears of an overheated market.
Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton in Chicago, said she was sticking with her forecast that the Fed will raise rates four times this year, with the first hike under Powell coming in March. But if stocks keep falling further, she said she might trim that estimate.
“Today was a hard welcome for Jay Powell,” Swonk said. “But this adjustment in stock prices may make the Fed’s job easier because it could relieve concerns that asset bubbles are developing.”
In an interview broadcast after her final day as Fed chair, Yellen discussed worries about high stock prices. She told CBS on Sunday she did not want to characterize current stock prices as an asset bubble that could burst with dangerous results, though she did see a “source of some concern that asset valuations are so high.”
Powell, who has been on the Fed board since 2012, was tapped by Trump after a highly public search for a new Fed chair. His nomination was approved by the Senate earlier this month for a four-year term as chairman that will end in February 2022. Powell’s current term as a Fed board member does not end until Jan. 31, 2028.
Powell, an investment banker before joining the Fed, said he was committed “to explaining what we’re doing and why we are doing it” in carrying out the Fed’s main jobs of promoting price stability and maximum employment.
“Today, unemployment is low, the economy is growing and inflation is low,” Powell said. “I am also pleased to report that our financial system is now far stronger and more resilient than it was before the financial crisis that began about a decade ago. We intend to keep it that way.”
Powell said that he and his Fed colleagues would work to make sure that the Fed’s regulations are “efficient as well effective.”
Trump was highly critical of the tougher bank rules put in place after the 2008 financial crisis, saying they had harmed economic growth. He has been nominating officials for the Fed and the government’s other bank regulatory jobs who have pledged to do away with unnecessary regulations.