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Snap shares rise as underwriters start coverage with buy


´╗┐Snap Inc (SNAP. N), owner of messaging app Snapchat, received top ratings from a number of its IPO underwriters on Monday, sending its shares up more than 3 percent in premarket trading. Snap had a red-hot debut on March 1 in what was the largest listing by a technology firm in three years. However, many investors have been critical of the company's lack of profitability and decelerating user growth. At least six brokerages, including Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, rated the stock "buy" or higher, citing the company's long-term growth in a highly competitive market. As of Friday's close, the stock had risen nearly 34 percent from its $17 initial public offering price. The stock was trading at $23.52 before the bell on Monday.

The Los Angeles-based company's app, which allows users to share short-lived messages and pictures, is popular with young people but faces intense competition from larger rivals such as Facebook Inc's (FB. O) Instagram. Snap has warned it may never become profitable."SNAP's engaged/hard-to-reach millennial users and unique video offerings should attract significant ad dollars," said Morgan Stanley analysts, who started the stock with an "overweight" rating. The analysts also said that Snap's ad monetization was still in its infancy.

Among other underwriters, Jefferies, RBC, Cowen & Co and Credit Suisse rated the stock a "buy". RBC was the most bullish with a $31 price target."The big question is whether SNAP's user base can "age up"," analysts at Cowen & Co said in a note.

Chinese court rules in favor of Apple in local design patent disputes BEIJING A Chinese court has ruled in favor of Apple in design patent disputes between the Cupertino, California company and a domestic phone-maker, overturning a ban on selling iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus phones in China, Xinhua news agency reported.

Uber suspends self-driving car program after Arizona crash Uber Technologies Inc [UBER. UL] suspended its pilot program for driverless cars on Saturday after a vehicle equipped with the nascent technology crashed on an Arizona roadway, the ride-hailing company and local police said.

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Verizon hires ex Ericsson CEO, sets new operating structure


´╗┐Verizon Communications Inc (VZ. N) said on Friday that Hans Vestberg, the former Ericsson chief executive officer, has joined the company and will lead a team building out its fiber network infrastructures amid growing competition from smaller rivals."It shows with Vestberg that they want to go back to having that network superiority, which has been increasingly eroded," said Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics. The move also sets up Vestberg, 51, as a potential successor to Verizon Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam, he said. The No. 1 U.S. wireless carrier said Vestberg will initially be based in Sweden but join the U.S.-based team later this spring.

"What bringing someone in for the outside means is you need a new perspective," Entner said. Verizon also said it is restructuring operations into three areas including Vestberg's team. The media and telematics unit will focus on new businesses in digital media, including integrating its pending acquisition of Yahoo Inc (YHOO. O). It will be led by Marni Walden as executive vice president for media and telematics.

The customer and product operations team, led by John Stratton, will work on operating and growing Verizon's established businesses, such as Verizon Wireless and Verizon Enterprise Solutions. Walden and Stratton are also both seen as potential successors to McAdam, according to industry analysts.

FCC to vote to reform $45 billion business data market WASHINGTON The Republican head of the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday proposed easing regulatory requirements in the $45 billion business data services market, a win for companies like AT&T Inc, CenturyLink Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and others.

China's Huawei posts flat profit growth amid tough battle with rivals HONG KONG Chinese telecom equipment and smartphone maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT. UL] on Friday said annual profit growth was nearly flat, its slowest pace in five years, as it ramped up spending to boost market share amid fierce competition.

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