Earnings Results: Alibaba earnings top expectations but coronavirus questions linger

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Shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. ticked 0.6% lower in premarket trading Thursday after the company posted better-than-expected results for its fiscal third quarter but left some unanswered questions about what impact the coronavirus outbreak could have on numbers for the current quarter and beyond.

The company posted net income of $52.3 billion Renminbi ($7.5 billion), or RMB19.55 a share, up from RMB33.1 billion, or RMB12.64, in the year-earlier period.

Adjusted earnings per share rose to RMB18.19 from RMB12.19 and came in above the FactSet consensus, which modeled RMB15.91.

Alibaba’s BABA, +3.27%  revenue for the quarter increased to RMB161.5 billion, up from RMB117.3 billion a year earlier. The FactSet consensus was looking for RMB159.7 billion. The Chinese e-commerce giant’s cloud business topped RMB10 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time.

The company’s report comes after numerous companies warned about anticipated negative impacts from COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that is believed to have originated at a food market in Wuhan, China late last year. Alibaba is likely to address the matter further on its earnings conference call, which begins at 7:30 a.m. Eastern time.

Prior to the report, Alibaba detailed some of the ways the company was working to help facilitate business and commerce in China as the outbreak continued to disrupt some of the country’s business activity. Alibaba said it would be reducing or lowering some fees, enabling enterprises to use its work-from-home platform for free, and helping to subsidize couriers so that they would receive extra money for their work.

“In response to the coronavirus, we mobilized Alibaba ecosystem’s powerful forces of commerce and technology to fully support the fight against the outbreak, ensure supply of daily necessities for our communities and introduced practical relief measures for our merchants,” the company said in its earnings release.

Shares of the Chinese e-commerce giant are near flat over the past month, though they’ve climbed 20% over the past three months. The KraneShares CSI China Internet ETF KWEB, +2.30%  has added 14% in a three-month span.

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