Shares of Alibaba Group Holding (BABA 2.04%) gained 18.5% in January 2018, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. It was a roller-coaster ride with a thrilling (but slightly mistaken) conclusion.
Alibaba started January is grand style, rising 10% in the first week amid a flurry of fresh partnerships and rosy analyst notes. The excitement cooled down a bit in the middle of the month, only to gain steam again when Wall Street firms presented optimistic previews of Alibaba's early February earnings report.
Alibaba's actual third-quarter report did not quite live up to the January hype. In a mixed report, sales grew 66% year over year and exceeded the analyst consensus estimate, while earnings rose just 25% to fall short of the Street's projections. Share prices fell more than 5% over the next couple of days.
That being said, it's hard to pin precise financial targets on a fast-growing business like Alibaba. The China-based e-commerce giant has its fingers in many growth-oriented pies right now, building machine learning into its shopping recommendation apps and exploring even more hypergrowth beyond China's borders.
All told, I'm a satisfied Alibaba shareholder who believes that the January surge ran in the right direction -- just perhaps a little bit too far, too fast.