Alibaba Falls After Barron's Suggests Drop, Company Rebuts

  • Story says stock could decline 50 percent on slower growth
  • Alibaba rebuttal says comparison with EBay is misleading

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. shares fell Monday, the first day of trading since a Barron’s magazine article on Saturday suggested the Chinese Internet company may lose another 50 percent of its value.

The company, in a statement posted Monday on its website, said the article was inaccurate and misleading. Barron’s based its conclusion that the Chinese company is overvalued, in part, by comparing Alibaba’s share price as a multiple of earnings estimates with EBay Inc. Alibaba said the comparison is unfair because EBay’s online marketplace doesn’t do significant business in China.

Alibaba declined 3.1 percent to $62.60 at the close in New York. Yahoo! Inc., which plans to spin off a multibillion-dollar stake in the Chinese e-commerce company, fell 3.5 percent to $30.33.

Alibaba makes most of its money selling goods to Chinese online shoppers and its shares have been falling since May due to concerns that economic growth is slowing in the country. The stock on Aug. 24 fell for the first time below the $68 price of the company’s September 2014 initial public offering, prompting Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang to urge employees to focus on Alibaba’s long-term prospects rather than the daily share price.

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