Alibaba Group Holding’s market capitalisation ballooned after its shares soared on the New York and Hong Kong markets, helping it vault past Facebook to become the world’s sixth-most valuable company.
Shares of the e-commerce and cloud computing giant – also the owner of South China Morning Post – rose 10% in a soaring Hong Kong market to close at a record HK$261.60 (RM143.87), after advancing 9% in New York overnight to US$257.68 (RM141.72).
That gave the Hangzhou-based company nearly HK$5.614tril (RM3.08tril) in market capitalisation, more than Facebook’s US$694.53bil (RM2.96tril). Tencent Holdings, the only other Chinese stock among the world’s top 10 companies, is capitalised at HK$5.38tril (RM2.95tril) based on its latest closing price of HK$563 (RM309) per share.
Investors are rushing into Alibaba for “fear of missing out” on its strong earnings, according to Jefferies, which recommends its clients “buy” the stock with a target price of HK$307 (RM169) per share.
“[Alibaba] shows strong execution with multiple business models, and is at the sweet spot of a recovery story backed by strong technological strengths,” Jefferies analysts led by Thomas Chong wrote in a note. “In the June quarter, we expect it to deliver solid results with core marketplace as a strong cash cow and customer management revenue offering high [return on investment] to merchants. We expect a strong recovery in the June quarter.”
The world’s largest company remains Saudi Arabian Oil, better known as Saudi Aramco. The oil exploration company, which went public in December 2019 in the biggest initial public offering (IPO) in global finance, has a market value of US$1.77tril (RM7.54tril).
The world’s trillion-dollar club has five members: Aramco, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon.com and Alphabet, as the parent of Google is called. After Alibaba, Facebook and Tencent, the remaining two slots of the 10 biggest companies are rounded out by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway with US$440bil (RM1.87tril) in capitalisation, and Visa’s US$379bil (RM1.61tril) in value.
Alibaba has 21 “buys” and no “hold” or “sell” recommendations among analysts tracked by Bloomberg, with a consensus target price of HK$263.39 (RM145). It was the first of a growing number of Chinese companies listed in the US to do a secondary listing in Hong Kong. It debuted in Hong Kong on Nov 26.
Tencent’s founder Pony Ma Huateng remains China’s richest person and the 18th richest in the world, with his wealth estimated at US$54.4bil (RM231.88bil). Alibaba’s co-founder Jack Ma is the second-richest person in China and the 19th richest worldwide, with US$52bil (RM221.65bil). Alibaba’s Ma’s wealth rose US$2.7bil (RM11.50bil) on Thursday, while Tencent’s Ma’s wealth climbed US$2.5bil (RM10.65bil), according to Bloomberg’s data. – South China Morning Post
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