China e-commerce leader Alibaba (BABA) reports quarterly earnings before the market open Friday, with expectations of ongoing double-digit growth.


Analysts expect sales of $9.2 billion, up 64% from the year-ago period. Their prediction on adjusted earnings is 87 cents per share, as polled by Zacks Investment Research, up 38%. Alibaba has a long string of double-digit growth in revenue and earnings.

Online spending trends in China are positive, with growth accelerating, said a recent report from Baird Equity Research. While Baird expects healthy e-commerce growth, it notes that the company is spending heavily on key initiatives such as retail, media and cloud.

Stifel analyst Scott Devitt in a research report Monday maintained a buy rating and price target of 260. Aside from updates on e-commerce, Devitt expects investors to focus on Alibaba’s new retail initiatives, logistics investments and progress in cloud services.

Outperform Rating

RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney has an outperform rating on Alibaba and a price target of 220.

“Our basic thesis on Alibaba is threefold,” Mahaney wrote. He said it is a great play on the dramatic secular growth in China and the internet in addition to management’s long-term focus.

Shares gained 1.1% to close at 181.45 on the stock market today. The record high is 206.20, set on Jan. 31. Shares have sold off recently, along with other Chinese stocks, and are below the 50-day line.

Raymond James analyst Aaron Kessler has a strong buy rating on Alibaba. He expects to see strong e-commerce growth, cloud-computing leadership and losses narrowing in investment areas.


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