Alibaba Posts Strong Numbers, But Something Is Concerning Investors


Alibaba reported revenue of 34.29 billion yuan ($5.14 billion) for the quarter, exceeding analysts’ expectations. Not only is Alibaba’s core commerce business doing well, but its cloud computing business is showing rapid growth as well. Despite this, the stock closed down 2.61% on the NYSE.

What is concerning investors?

At a time when regulators are not shy of slapping major banks with multi-million dollar fines for breaching rules, investors are concerned about the SEC’s ongoing investigation into Alibaba’s accounting practices, Christian Magoon, Amplify Investments CEO told CNBC. On CNBC’s The Rundown, Magoon said investors are reluctant to create a position in the stock as they are worried that the SEC could fine the Chinese firm.

“Once the stock gets past this, be it a good or bad outcome, I think we will see a relief for Alibaba,” Magoon said.

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In May, Alibaba revealed that the SEC is investigating its accounting practices over transactions with its Cainiao logistics arm and other affiliates. The way it reports its Singles’ Day numbers are also under scrutiny.

Slowing Chinese economy isn’t holding Alibaba back

Meanwhile, analysts continue to be bullish on the Chinese firm.

Commenting on Chinese internet companies, Wedbush Securities analyst Gil Luria said, “I don’t know if anyone’s doing better than Alibaba. They were able to drive growth by expanding beyond e-commerce in mobile browsing, media, cloud and continued to increase their number of ads and the money they charge for it.”

Beating analysts’ estimates, the e-commerce giant’s revenue increased 55%. Since its record IPO in 2014, Alibaba’s quarterly sales have beaten analysts’ estimates for five straight quarters and missed just twice. Alibaba’s media and digital services businesses, which consolidated with Youku Tudou, the Chinese alternative to YouTube, saw a major rise in revenues as well (302% year-on-year).

Alibaba’s earnings numbers come just days before Singles’ Day (November 11), the largest online shopping event worldwide. It is about 10 times bigger than Cyber Monday in the U.S. The e-commerce giant made an eye-popping 91.2 billion yuan on Single’s Day last year.

Founder Jack Ma, who couldn’t get a job at KFC, opened Alibaba Group in 1999. Now he can buy KFC if he wants. Ma’s net worth is predicted to be over $28.5 billion.

At 9:47 Eastern time, Alibaba shares were down 1.28% at $97.27. Year to date, the stock is up more than 19%, while in the last year, it is up more than 16%.

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