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Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Since going public in March, Lyft is now easing off its price-cut war with rival Uber, instead competing on “brand and experience."

The bottom line: As part of its Q2 earnings, the company revealed that its sales and marketing expenses for incentives — meaning ride "coupons" — have dropped by 40% from the first quarter. It’s also quietly raising some prices at the end of June to improve its margins.

  • “More specifically, we began to adjust prices on select routes and in select cities based on costs and demand elasticities,” said finance chief Brian Roberts of the select fare increases. “We expect that these changes will accelerate Lyft's path to profitability, and further, we believe these price adjustments reflect an industry trend,” he added, hinting that we should expect Uber to be doing the same.
  • Lyft's sales and marketing expenses as a percentage of revenue dropped from 29% in Q1 to 19% in Q2. Lyft expects this figure to hover around the same level for the rest of the year.

And while Lyft previously expected to generate its “peak losses” in 2019, its revised outlook for the rest of the year means it now believes its biggest losses were last year.

  • It reduced its expected adjusted losses for the year by $300 million to between $850 million and $875 million.

The big picture: Lyft attempted to paint a picture of its “path to profitability” for investors on Thursday, emphasizing that it’s adjusting its margins by cutting costs, increasing revenue per active rider, and increasing more profitable rides like those to and from airports, in premium cars, for medical providers and corporate transportation.

Yes, but: Lyft is far from being out of the woods. It’s still much smaller than rival Uber and has very large losses.

  • Despite growth in Lyft's bike and scooter business, that faces a slew of challenges as well, from technical defects to an expected decrease in ridership during the winter.

Go deeper

Updated 33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

Screenshot: Fox News

President Trump has delivered a farewell speech and departed Washington for the last time on Air Force One, kicking off the day that will culminate with President-elect Joe Biden taking office.

What's next: The inaugural celebration for young Americans is being livestreamed, starting at 10am.

Updated 49 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump departs on final Air Force One flight

President Trump and his family took off on Air Force One at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning for the final time en route to Florida.

The big picture: Trump's final hours as president were punctuated by his decisions to snub his successor's inauguration and grant pardons to many of his allies who have been swept up in corruption scandals.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
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Janet Yellen said all the right things to reassure the markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Treasury Secretary nominee and former Fed chair Janet Yellen's confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday showed markets just what they can expect from the administration of President-elect Joe Biden: more of what they got under President Trump — at least for now.

What it means: Investors and big companies reaped the benefits of ultralow U.S. interest rates and low taxes for most of Trump's term as well as significant increases in government spending, even before the coronavirus pandemic.