Why Goldman Sachs Sees Alibaba, Baidu and JD.com Heading Much Higher

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It may not seem that unusual to see analysts issue Buy ratings on stocks, and it is even more common to hear them reiterate those same ratings. Still, when you see one analyst coming out with higher targets for a group of stocks that are still down from their highs, it may stand out more than other analyst calls. Goldman Sachs made a call on Monday, October 25 that was talking up the prospects for the likes of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) and Baidu Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU). Even the company JD.com Inc. (NASDAQ: JD) was given a higher price target.

These calls are all for additional upside that is now above-consensus for each stock. Unfortunately, the stock price reaction in different in each.

Goldman Sachs analyst Piyush Mubayi already had a buy rating on Alibaba, but now it is named as the top Chinese internet stock pick. The firm raised its price target to $130 from $120, calling Alibaba a compelling valuation versus strong growth fundamentals. If Goldman Sachs is proven right, then Alibaba has almost 25% upside from Monday’s closing price of $104.50.

Alibaba’s price target of $130 is now almost $15 higher than the Thomson Reuters consensus analyst price target of $115.71. It was also worth noting that Alibaba’s price target has been steadily on the rise of late, along with shares. It was $111.52 just 30 days ago, $107.58 some 60 days ago and $96.87 90 days ago.

As for the reasons for Alibaba, several issues were cited in the call. Top-line growth was being driven by e-commerce, cloud and media. The cloud is expected to be profitable in the next two years. Ant Financial, Cainiao and Alipay were all named in the e-commerce and payments arena.

Investors might want to consider that, after a time of turmoil, Alibaba shares have recovered close to 30% in 2016. With shares close to $105 at this time, its 52-week range is $59.25 to $109.87.

Baidu was also reiterated as Buy, and the Goldman Sachs price target was raised to $201 from $194. The consensus price target on Baidu is now $189.61, and that has started to recover after falling handily this summer. Just 90 days ago Baidu’s consensus target price was $195.16, but that consensus target was $181.16 60 days ago and it was $186.63 some 30 days ago.

As a reminder, Baidu has faced its share of problems in China. On top of the lower mobile-to-money trends, it had the search results problem around medical issues, which drove its stock price far lower. Still, Baidu is copying Google’s efforts to go after more venture fund types of investments and broadening out to autonomous cars. Its venture focus so far seems targeted around artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and the like. Baidu’s 52-week range is $139.61 to $217.97.

JD.com also saw its price target raised to $31.50 from $28.50. Its shares were trading at $26.50 ahead of the call, and the mean price target is $30.09. Its 52-week range is $19.51 to $33.48, and note that the highest analyst target for JD.com shares was $39.

Here is how the share prices reacted to the analyst calls as of Tuesday right before noon:

  • Alibaba shares were last seen up about 0.5% at $105.00, and the 4.8 million shares compares to an average daily trading volume of more than 17 million shares.
  • Baidu shares were down 1.7% at $117.85 on very thin volume of almost 800,000 shares. Its average volume is about 2.5 million shares.
  • JD.com shares were up a penny at $26.51 and on thin volume of just about 2 million shares. The average daily trading volume is more than 11 million shares.