What to Expect Ahead of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s Earnings: Cantor Fitzgerald Weighs In

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) is slated to announce fiscal first quarter 2016 earnings results on Wednesday, August 12, before the market opens. The Street estimates the company will post earnings of $0.58 per share on $3.4 billion in revenue.

Alibaba has had to jump over a number of hurdles in the first half of the year that have contributed to the company’s narrowing margins, including accusations of selling fake products and the downfall of the  Chinese economy. Additionally, the company has been straining its margins by recent long-term investments in could computing, mobile platforms, and the entertainment industry.

Despite these challenges, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali remains bullish on the stock and expects Alibaba “to report strong 1Q:FY16 results both on the top and bottom lines.” As such, the analyst maintained a Buy rating on Alibaba on August 10 with a price target of $110.

Squali believes Alibaba’s earnings results will be “powered by solid growth in core China retail marketplaces (TaoBao and TMall).” The company recently announced that it will feature 11 additional countries on Tmall Global, including the U.S., New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, France, Britain, and Spain in an effort to expand its international e-commerce initiatives. Squali expects the company to post $109.34 billion in revenue “in GMV on China retail marketplaces, across both Tmall and TaoBao, driven by strong active buyer growth,” marking a potential 35.4% increase year-over-year. Overall, Squali expects Alibaba to post $0.75 adjusted earnings per share on $3.52 billion in revenue.

On the other hand, Squali cites “macro concerns around China’s economy [as] a key issue long term.” The analyst also notes “doing business in China, VIE ownership structure, corporate governance, transparency… a slowdown in China’s economy, [and] the post IPO lockup expiration” as potential risks for Alibaba.

Squali listed several points he expects management to touch on during the conference call, including “a) update on local consumer demand trends in light of China’s slowing GDP growth and volatility in the equity markets, b) progress on Tmall Global and the offering’s traction to-date with both consumers and large brands, c) mgt’s strategy on addressing the opportunity in e-commerce outside of China, both in emerging as well as developed markets, d) initiatives targeted at increasing mobile monetization and users’ engagement with the platform and e) potential impact from a draft proposal by Chinese regulators (on July 31) to limit online payments by individuals to $805/day.”

Overall, Youssef Squali has a 62% success rate recommending stocks and a +20.2% average return per recommendation when measured over a one-year horizon and no benchmark.

Out of 9 analysts polled by TipRanks within the last 3 months, all 9 are bullish on Alibaba. The average 12-month price target for Alibaba is $111.50, marking a 41.46% potential upside from where the stock last closed. On average, the all-analyst consensus for Alibaba is Strong Buy.

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