The love affair between Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and Wall Street is about to face its first real test.
That’s because Alibaba said today that revenue climbed 40 percent in its third quarter to $4.219 billion, a huge number that still fell below the $4.45 billion that a consensus of Wall Street analysts had projected. Profits were up, as were mobile users. But will that be enough to calm investors?
Early signs indicate: Nope.
With Alibaba reporting earnings before markets opened in the U.S., its stock dropped 6.14 percent to $92.73 in pre-market trading, down from its closing price yesterday of $98.45 per share. The company’s stock has been trending down gradually since Nov. 10, when it closed at a peak of $119.15 per share.
Alibaba officials quickly sought to shift the focus to the company’s explosive growth as well as the massive opportunity it still has in its home country.
“We delivered a strong quarter with significant growth across our key operating metrics,” said Jonathan Lu, chief executive officer of Alibaba Group, in a press release. “Our business continues to perform well, and our results reflect the strength of our ecosystem and the strong foundation we have for sustainable growth.”
The company said that earnings per share climbed 13 percent to 81 cents, a figure that doesn’t count the cost of employee stock grants. Analysts had projected EPS of 75 cents.
Alibaba pointed out that the number of annual active buyers across its e-commerce services increased to 334 million in 2014, up 45 percent from the previous year.
“A number that surpasses the entire population of the United States is now shopping on our platform,” said Joe Tsai, Alibaba’s executive vice chairman during an earnings call with reporters and analysts.
The company also added 48 million monthly active users from Q2 to 265 million on its mobile platforms and generated more than $1 billion in mobile revenue during the quarter. That represented about 42 percent of all transactions, up from 36 percent in the last quarter.