Uber's pickup in stock price proves that ridesharing won't go away anytime soon. The COVID-19 pandemic crippled the industry, though food delivery limited losses in 2020.
Uber just pulled its best month since March 2020 — $30 billion, up 9% from a month ago. Uber's delivery unit reached a record annual run rate of $52 billion in March, which more than doubled from the previous year.
How to Buy UBER Stock
You can own a part of UBER by buying UBER (NYSE: UBER) stock on its own or in a fund. Although some companies offer direct stock purchase plans, UBER stock is only offered via a stock exchange. You’ll need an account at a brokerage firm to buy on a stock exchange, but you’ll find that setting up an account to trade is fast and easy.
Many brokerage accounts have no minimum funding requirements, although others with more sophisticated platforms such as Tradestation require a $2,000 deposit to open. Once you open an account, you can easily transfer money via ACH or other methods.
- Pick a brokerage.
It’s easy to set up and fund your own online brokerage account from the many choices available. Choose one, set it up in 10 minutes or less, fund it electronically from your bank account and buy shares of UBER or other stock. Setup is simple and straightforward; it is no harder to set up a brokerage account than it is to sign up for Spotify (NYSE: SPOT).
Which brokerage is best for you? Benzinga’s detailed comparisons can help you narrow down the optimal trading platform to go with.
- Decide how many shares you want.
Deciding how many shares to buy, also called “position size,” is a tough call. Sometimes stocks careen wildly up (Gamestop in 2020), but they usually creep up slowly over time. Researching UBER and other stocks in its sector can help you decide how many shares to buy. See https://www.investor.gov/introduction-investing/getting-started/researching-investments.
If you buy 5 shares of UBER at $50, and if UBER goes to $70, you’re making $100 (5 x $70 = $350 minus 5 x 50 = $250 or $100). However, it could take months or years for UBER to get to a price of $70, and it may never get there, so you’ve tied up $250 that could be invested elsewhere waiting for 1 stock to appreciate and maybe make you $100.
Up that position size to 500 shares at $50, and if UBER hits $70, you’re up $10,000. That would be a sweet gain, but if UBER dropped to a price of $30, your loss would be sobering.
You could also buy shares of UBER as one of the stocks held in an exchange-traded fund (ETF). You buy and sell ETFs just like a stock; an ETF has its own ticker symbol and price.
However, UBER stock would be just one of many stocks in the ETF. ETF holdings change, so at some point, that ETF may not hold UBER, or it may increase its position in UBER. For example, right the ETF with the ticker symbol VTI holds almost $6 million shares of UBER.
- Choose your order type.
You are ready to buy some UBER. Each online brokerage firm’s trading site looks slightly different, but the concept to purchase is the same. Find the tab that says “Trade” or “Buy & Sell” or a similar choice. Enter the ticker symbol in the box for symbol.
To buy Uber stock, you type in the ticker symbol “UBER.” If you don’t know the ticker symbol for a stock, your brokerage firm will find it for you if you type in the company name. You’ll see the price and volume. Choose “Buy” in the “Action” or “Trade” box and type in the number of shares or quantity of shares.
You have several choices about price type.
Market orders: If you choose Market or Market on Close, you are telling the brokerage house to buy UBER at any price the market is offering at the moment the broker places your order. Market orders usually fill immediately and for the full amount of shares you choose because you accept any price the market sets at the time you place your order.
Limit orders: Limit orders specify a specific price. For example, if you see UBER trading at $52 and you think it will go down to $51, you could put in a limit order at $51. The broker will only fill your order at a stock of $51.
Other types of orders: Traders set other types of orders, too, based on their belief that a stock will go up or down and when it might make those moves. Stop orders, trailing stop orders, stop on quote orders and others can help you buy with more precision.
Duration. You also choose a duration such as good for the day, good until canceled (GTC), good until a certain day, fill or kill, or other options. These tell the brokerage how long to honor your buy request. Some of the options are limited based on the type of order you designate. Market orders offer you only that-day-order choices whereas limit orders have more duration options.
If you place a GTC limit order for UBER stock at $50, the brokerage will keep trying to buy UBER for you at $50 until you go back in and cancel the order or until the order is filled at $50 per share.
- Execute your trade.
You’re ready. You are all set to buy 50 shares of UBER at a limit price of $51. Preview your order, check its accuracy, and then hit the button to buy. A market order will probably fill right away, but limit and other orders may take some time or may never fill if your specified price isn’t reached.
What if you change your mind? If you place your order and it hasn’t filled, you can cancel it.
Once you’ve bought the stock, that’s it. You own UBER. When you watch the price of UBER rise above what you paid for it, you know you are making your money work for you. It’s a great feeling. Conversely, if you place a market order for 100 shares of UBER that fills at $52 per share and then half an hour later UBER drops to $50, you own it at $52 and you can’t change that.
If you place a limit order at $50 because you think UBER will drop a bit, perhaps on a down day, you likely won’t end up owning the stock unless UBER does drop to $50 and there are enough sellers to fill your 100-share order at $50.
When you place orders other than market orders, you may not buy all the shares you’ve requested at one time. Our 100-share order of UBER at $50 may be filled at first with 32 shares, then 25 shares, then finally completed with 43 shares.
Best Online Brokers
UBER Stock History
UBER is one of those stocks you buy because you know it. If you are looking to buy UBER, the snowy night in Paris story is as familiar to you as Good Night Moon. By May 2017, UBER had reached 5 billion rides. Eleven years after their big idea, founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp took UBER public, and you could finally buy it. UBER IPO’d at $45 per share and started trading at $42 per share on the New York Stock Exchange the next day. UBER hit its high to date of $64.05 on February 11, 2021 and its low of $23.79 on April 3, 2020. Those boundaries do not mean that UBER will never go lower or higher than those prices, but it shows the range that the stock has already traversed in its short public life.
Analysts’ average price target for UBER in March 2021 is about $72. When you see analyst targets, it doesn’t mean that the stock price will for sure reach that height or sink to that depth; the price is a projection based on an analyst’s review of the company’s numbers, the sector, the economy, and many other factors. Price targets are useful but not a guarantee of the stock’s eventual price.
Pros and Cons of UBER Stock
- UBER ride shares are ubiquitous.
- UBER is more than just a ride-hailing company.
- UBER has had a wide fluctuation in price since its 2019 IPO.
- UBER’s competitor LYFT yanks customers away.
Uber is Resilient
You can choose from many stocks, but if you base your stock purchases in part on products and services you own or use, UBER’s got its hand up to hail you. If COVID’s restrictive clutch couldn’t kill UBER’s ebullience, what can?
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Uber pay dividends on its stock?
It does not currently pay dividends on its stock.
If my UBER stock makes me money, when do I pay taxes on it?
Let’s hope the stock price shoots right up after you buy it! But what then — do you have to pay tax on the profit? Here’s how it works for paying taxes on stock gains. You buy 20 shares of UBER stock at $50 per share. Two months later, UBER is trading at $70. You are making $400!
The plan is working. The year ends, you are still up $400, and you start your income tax return. Do you owe taxes on that $400?
You don’t. Even though you are up in your stock position at the moment, you don’t pay tax on gains until you actually sell the stock and lock the profit in. At that point, you will owe income tax on your profit. If you sold that UBER stock in 2021 for a $400 profit, you would use the 1099-B form from your brokerage to enter the $400 into your tax software to capture the gain as earnings for that year.
Related content: How to File Uber Taxes
About Kathryn Hauer, CFP®
Kathy is an expert in finance (personal, corporate), financial planning, financial literacy, tax preparation and laws, saving and investing, retirement, insurance, careers, college education planning and financing, cannabis, gig economy, forming and running a business, credit and debt issues, blue-collar workers, and military issues. She has a strong interest in crypto, DeFi, FinTech, InsureTech, AgTech.