The market for Alibaba Group Holding Limited's (NYSE:BABA) shares didn't move much after it posted weak earnings recently. We think that the softer headline numbers might be getting counterbalanced by some positive underlying factors.
How Do Unusual Items Influence Profit?
Importantly, our data indicates that Alibaba Group Holding's profit was reduced by CN¥20b, due to unusual items, over the last year. While deductions due to unusual items are disappointing in the first instance, there is a silver lining. When we analysed the vast majority of listed companies worldwide, we found that significant unusual items are often not repeated. And, after all, that's exactly what the accounting terminology implies. If Alibaba Group Holding doesn't see those unusual expenses repeat, then all else being equal we'd expect its profit to increase over the coming year.
That might leave you wondering what analysts are forecasting in terms of future profitability. Luckily, you can click here to see an interactive graph depicting future profitability, based on their estimates.
Our Take On Alibaba Group Holding's Profit Performance
Because unusual items detracted from Alibaba Group Holding's earnings over the last year, you could argue that we can expect an improved result in the current quarter. Because of this, we think Alibaba Group Holding's earnings potential is at least as good as it seems, and maybe even better! And on top of that, its earnings per share have grown at an extremely impressive rate over the last three years. Of course, we've only just scratched the surface when it comes to analysing its earnings; one could also consider margins, forecast growth, and return on investment, among other factors. So if you'd like to dive deeper into this stock, it's crucial to consider any risks it's facing. In terms of investment risks, we've identified 2 warning signs with Alibaba Group Holding, and understanding these should be part of your investment process.
This note has only looked at a single factor that sheds light on the nature of Alibaba Group Holding's profit. But there is always more to discover if you are capable of focussing your mind on minutiae. For example, many people consider a high return on equity as an indication of favorable business economics, while others like to 'follow the money' and search out stocks that insiders are buying. So you may wish to see this free collection of companies boasting high return on equity, or this list of stocks that insiders are buying.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.