Alibaba’s Profit Misses The Mark

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE: BABA) reported yet another quarter of staggering revenue growth on Thursday, but the stock dropped more than 3 percent in premarket trading after fiscal third-quarter earnings per share came up short of consensus expectations.

Alibaba reported third-quarter EPS of $1.63, missing consensus expectations of $1.65. However, the company’s revenue of $12.76 billion beat consensus forecasts of $12.12 billion by 4.8 percent.

Alibaba said total costs and expenses were up 8 percent on the quarter as the company continues to heavily invest in its New Retail initiative, globalizing its business and improving user experience.

Despite its massive $523 billion market capitalization, Alibaba’s revenue jumped 56 percent compared to the same quarter a year on strong performances from its e-commerce and cloud services businesses in China.

Alibaba also raised its fiscal 2018 revenue growth guidance. The company now expects full-year revenue growth of between 55 percent and 56 percent. Previous guidance called for growth of between 49 percent and 53 percent.

“Alibaba had another great quarter driven by the continued strength of the Chinese consumer and the wide and innovative range of services we provide for merchants and consumers,” CEO Daniel Zhang says. “We expanded the scale and footprint of our New Retail initiatives with the vision of delivering true convergence of the online and offline consumer experience through mobile and enterprise technology.”

In addition to the top- and bottom-line numbers, Alibaba reported a 57 percent increase in core commerce revenue to $11.25 billion. Cloud computing revenue was up 104 percent to $553 million. Digital media and entertainment revenue was up 33 percent to $832 million.

Alibaba also said it would be taking a 33 percent stake in Chinese payments giant Ant Financial, a move that could open the door for an Ant Financial initial public offering.

After more than doubling in the past year, Alibaba’s stock initially dipped following the earnings miss. However, Jefferies analyst Karen Chan says long-term investors should consider the big picture.

“We see multi-year legroom for growth in both Alibaba’s customer management and cloud revenue,” Chan says. “Alibaba Cloud remains…

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