Alibaba Group (BABA), the Chinese e-commerce giant’s stock has been on a tear all year, with a laundry lists of Wall Street firms issuing bullish notes on the company’s prospects. MKM Partners is the latest to pile on, updating its growth targets for the company Monday and laying out seven reasons why the bulls outweigh the bears.  

MKM analyst Rob Sanderson said in a research report covered by Barron’s that Alibaba’s china retail business, which accounts for 70% of its sales, has more room to grow thanks to healthy online consumption by consumers in the country, growth in traffic to its websites and improving relevance in the ads it serves up. What’s more the analyst, who last week set a $155 price target on the stock, implying it has room to climb another 24%, said Alibaba has the potential to increase its ad load which would provide another “meaningful” driver of revenue growth. (For more, see more: Alibaba: Raymond James Likes What It Sees.)


“Consensus revenue estimates for fiscal 2018 moved about 5 billion RMB ($730 million) higher (on the back of fiscal fourth quarter earnings), but the year on year growth expectation remains at 32%,” wrote Sanderson in a research note to clients. “The Q4 result was the strongest growth since the IPO at 60%; we estimate around 45% [of it was] organic growth. Management offered an initial revenue target of greater than 48% y/y growth, then went on to deliver over 54%. We believe that Cloud, Digital Media, International Retail and Other Innovations (combined over 20% of FY17 revenue) will all grow above the company average in FY18."

According to the Wall Street Watcher the seven things that make the bull case better than the bear argument include revenue and EBITDA upside, gross merchandise value growth of around 17% during the next three years; international revenue growth, cloud business strength, narrowing losses in its media business, strong commerce margins even with “heavy” investments, and a new $6 billion stock buyback program. (For more, see also: E-commerce Earnings on the Rise.)

For the first three months of the year, revenue at Alibaba increased 60% thanks to an increasing number of users in China. During the quarter, more than 450 million consumers shopped on Alibaba or used its websites with the average annual amount spent increasing by around one third. Revenue for the quarter came in at $5.6 billion, higher than Wall Street expectations, although its adjusted earnings per share of 4.35 yuan was lower than the 4.51 yuan average analysts as polled by Bloomberg were looking for. In conjunction with its earnings report the online retailer announced the stock repurchase program, saying it will acquire the shares over the course of two years with it primarily aimed at offsetting dilution from its equity-based compensation programs. The new program replaces the existing stock buyback plan on the books.

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