Alibaba Set to Report Fourth-Quarter Earnings: What Wall Street’s Saying

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Alibaba (BABA) is set to report earnings for the financial quarter ended March 31 on Thursday and investors will be looking to see if the company rebounds following a weaker-than-expected third quarter.

Last quarter, the Hangzhou, China-based company reported revenue of $4.22 billion and non-GAAP earnings per share of 81 cents, missing analysts' expectations for revenue but surpassing expectations for earnings. The revenue misses were particularly surprising given that the quarter included Singles Day, which tends to attract an enormous amount of sales in China.

According to Thomson Reuters, analysts expect Alibaba to report fourth-quarter revenue of $2.78 billion and non-GAAP earnings per share of 42 cents. The company itself did not provide guidelines for the quarter.

Alibaba has had its share of troubles since its initial public offering, with lots of media attention for fraud and brushing taking place on its site, plus a recent flare-up over a job posting looking for a " programmer encouragement specialist" who is attractive and comparable to the Japanese porn star Sora Aoi. Alibaba also drew some questions when Executive Chairman Jack Ma announced a hiring freeze, saying the company was growing too quickly.

Here's what analysts had to say about Alibaba, ahead of the results.

Rob Sanderson, MKM Partners (Buy, $115 PT)

"Sentiment is near-term cautious and long-term positive. There have been several downward estimate revisions. We are also lowering our forecast on lower [gross merchandise value] growth assumptions and a lower take-rate. We assume that stepped up efforts to remove counterfeit goods has a measurable impact on GMV this quarter. We now reflect a more severe deceleration in GMV growth to 40% from 45% previously. We assume entities selling counterfeits are not paying BABA for marketing services and therefore see negligible impact to revenue.

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