Alibaba Bulls See $140 Billion Rally Extending on Cohen’s Buy

(Bloomberg) — China tech bulls expect meme-stock icon Ryan Cohen’s foray into Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. so as to add impetus to the stock, which has increased greater than $140 billion in market value in the newest turnaround.

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Hong Kong-listed shares of the Chinese e-commerce leader jumped 3% early Tuesday following a report that Cohen has acquired a stake value a whole bunch of thousands and thousands of dollars within the second half of last 12 months and is pushing for more buybacks. The stock later trimmed gains, but stays about 85% higher than its October trough on regulatory easing and China’s reopening from Covid curbs.

Cohen’s entry is “positive for the stock since it helps to boost confidence especially amongst Western investors who’ve been sceptical of China,” said Vey-Sern Ling, a managing director at Union Bancaire Privee. “It helps to focus on how undervalued the shares are, and if he encourages more buybacks then that helps shareholder returns too.”

READ: Meme Stock Icon Cohen Targets Alibaba in Rare China Activism

Once deemed “uninvestable” by some on Wall Street, the stock has been winning back investors as a loosening of regulatory scrutiny and China’s pent-up consumer demand are expected to spice up its shares. Cohen’s view is that Alibaba can achieve double-digit sales expansion and almost 20% growth in free money flow over the following five years, in line with reports.

Union Bancaire Privee’s Ling agreed with the meme-stock icon’s estimates, saying “his forecasts should not very different from consensus in order that they’re not unrealistic.”

Alibaba in November approved a $15 billion expansion to an existing $25 billion buyback program, while extending the duration to 2025. Despite the announcements, it hasn’t been energetic in repurchasing shares in open market operations.

The corporate’s money and short-term investments as of September 2022 are value nearly a 3rd its market value, in line with Bloomberg’s calculations.

Cohen is correct on the corporate’s ability to do more buybacks because it is “a cash-flow machine,” said Hao Hong, an economist with Grow Investment.

While the stock stays low cost, its earnings outlook is yet to enhance.

The 12-month forward earnings estimate for Alibaba has declined about 8% this month in comparison with an advance of 1.7% for that of the Hang Seng Tech Index, in line with Bloomberg data. The stock is trading at 15.2 times of its 12-month forward earnings, cheaper than its five-year average of 18.8 times.

Analyst goal prices imply a 23% return over the following 12 months for the firm’s Hong Kong-listed shares, in comparison with lower than 7% for rival Tencent Holdings Ltd., in line with forecasts tracked by Bloomberg.

–With assistance from Jeanny Yu.

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