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Strategist maintains $250 target on Alibaba, despite trade war fears

Key Points
  • Alibaba's visibility means the Chinese e-commerce company won't be spared from the U.S.-China trade war, but one strategist said he still expects 20 percent growth by the end of 2019.
  • Zacks' John Blank said Alibaba's strong business model — a mix of eBay, Amazon and PayPal — will enable growth in spite of trade-war turbulence.
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Buy Alibaba on pullback: Strategist

Alibaba's visibility means the Chinese e-commerce company won't be spared from the U.S.-China trade war, but one strategist said he still expects 20 percent growth by the end of 2019.

"There is no more marquee name in China if you're going to buy a stock. So, they're in every ETF, they're going to be in any Chinese mutual fund, and they're going to be in ... the Shanghai Indexes. So they can't escape the ... Trump trade war, " said John Blank, chief equity strategist at Zacks Investment Research.

Shares of Alibaba surged on Thursday after the Chinese technology giant reported 61 percent revenue growth year over year. Shortly after, U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba reversed those gains, closing down more than 3 percent on Thursday.

The stock has been under pressure in recent months amid a broader sell-off in Chinese stocks over concerns about the U.S.-China trade war.

Alibaba is "just too big, they're too visual, they're too liquid and they're too traded. So they're just going to stay in the news, and they're going to be hit — broadsided just like the market for some time to come until this trade talk gets to resolution," Blank said Thursday on CNBC's "Closing Bell."

But the underlying fundamentals are good, especially for a company the size of Alibaba, said Kevin Carter, founder of Emerging Markets Internet & Ecommerce ETF.

"If you step back and look at the growth rate that these companies have ... 61 percent is astounding. I mean that's hard for any business to grow at 61 percent, let alone one the size of Alibaba," Carter said in a "Closing Bell" interview on Thursday.

"There is a high bar for these companies, but if you're a long-term investor, I think this sector is probably the best in the world to buy and hold," he added.

Blank said he anticipates Alibaba will return to June highs of $210 by the end of 2018 and will close out 2019 at $250 — which represents a 20 percent growth target. Blank sees 20 percent earnings growth in Alibaba's numbers.

"What you've got to understand about Alibaba is that people are casting it as an Amazon, and it's not an Amazon. It's an Amazon and a PayPal and ... an eBay. That's a strong business model, probably lighter than Amazon and probably able to deliver that $250 in 2019, " Blank said.

Alibaba closed down more than 3 percent on Thursday at $172.23 per share.