LightInTheBox (LITB) Dives on CFO Departure, Chinese Web Stocks Tumble

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- On a day when Chinese internet stocks are already taking off significant share value, LightInTheBox (LITB) has tumbled on news its chief financial officer is leaving the company. By early afternoon, shares had unloaded 9.4% to $8.93.

The online retailer said CFO Richard Xue would leave the company "due to personal reasons", effective Feb. 17. Financial controller and vice president of finance, Jennifer Hu, will assume Xue's responsibilities until the board finds a permanent replacement.

"I'd like to thank Richard for his significant contributions to the company, including a very successful IPO in 2013. We wish him the best in his future endeavors," said CEO Alan Guo in a statement.

Other China-based web stocks were tumbling on Monday, aftermath of a SEC ruling last week that Chinese units of accounting firms KPMG, Deloitte & Touche, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst and Young were barred from auditing U.S.-listed companies for six months. The ruling was in connection to the firms deliberately failing to give regulators audit papers for Chinese companies investigated for accounting fraud. 

Internet TV provider Youku Tudou (YOKU) dumped 2% to $29.36, social network Sina Corp (SINA) was 2.3% lower to $68.40, search engine Baidu (BIDU) took off 2.3% to $157.73, and auction site E-Commerce China Dangdang (DANG) plummeted 6% to $8.72.

TheStreet Ratings team rates YOUKU TUDOU INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C-. The team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate YOUKU TUDOU INC (YOKU) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed -- some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and solid stock price performance. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • YOKU's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 9.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 73.7%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • YOKU has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 3.21, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The gross profit margin for YOUKU TUDOU INC is rather high; currently it is at 51.27%. Regardless of YOKU's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, YOKU's net profit margin of -25.49% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Internet Software & Services industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 140.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$14.93 million to -$35.88 million.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Internet Software & Services industry and the overall market, YOUKU TUDOU INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

TheStreet Ratings team rates SINA CORP as a Hold with a ratings score of C. The team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate SINA CORP (SINA) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed -- some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and growth in earnings per share. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's return on equity has been disappointing."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 9.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 21.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • SINA has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 4.02, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The gross profit margin for SINA CORP is rather high; currently it is at 63.82%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 13.74% trails the industry average.
  • The strong earnings growth this company has enjoyed -- up -- has apparently played a role in driving up its share price by a solid 25.88%. In addition, the rise in the general market has likely contributed to this stock's strong performance during this past year.Setting our sights on the months ahead, however, we feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The implication is that its reduced upside potential is not good enough to warrant further investment at this time.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Internet Software & Services industry and the overall market, SINA CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

TheStreet Ratings team rates BAIDU INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. The team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate BAIDU INC (BIDU) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 9.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 44.3%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 51.04% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, BIDU should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • BAIDU INC's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, BAIDU INC increased its bottom line by earning $4.78 versus $3.02 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($30.36 versus $4.78).
  • The gross profit margin for BAIDU INC is rather high; currently it is at 69.53%. Regardless of BIDU's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, BIDU's net profit margin of 34.28% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.51, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 5.37 is very high and demonstrates very strong liquidity.

TheStreet Ratings team rates E-COMMERCE CH DANGDANG -ADR as a Sell with a ratings score of D. The team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate E-COMMERCE CH DANGDANG -ADR (DANG) a SELL. This is driven by a few notable weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been poor profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The gross profit margin for E-COMMERCE CH DANGDANG -ADR is rather low; currently it is at 18.35%. Regardless of DANG's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of -1.82% trails the industry average.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Internet & Catalog Retail industry and the overall market, E-COMMERCE CH DANGDANG -ADR's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed compared to the Internet & Catalog Retail industry average, but is greater than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 71.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$15.92 million to -$4.56 million.
  • E-COMMERCE CH DANGDANG -ADR reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, E-COMMERCE CH DANGDANG -ADR reported poor results of -$0.89 versus -$0.46 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.42 versus -$0.89).
  • DANG has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Despite the fact that DANG's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.52, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.

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