The stock of the Chinese e-commerce giant has surged 113 percent this year but isn’t in any of the biggest American equity indexes.
U.S. mutual funds struggling to get ahead of passive indexes this year had a solution handed to them on a platter: Alibaba.
Among 215 large-cap growth funds in the U.S., about one-third hold shares of the New York-listed Chinese e-commerce giant, according to regulatory filings compiled by Bloomberg. They’ve returned an average 33 percent this year, compared with 24 percent from managers with no stake.
Among funds with Alibaba on board, 89 percent are beating their benchmarks in 2017, versus 52 percent without it. The gap exists because Alibaba has surged 113 percent and isn’t in any of the biggest U.S. equity indexes. The increase of $260 billion in market value would have been like adding a second Apple were Alibaba in the S&P 500. But since it isn’t, owning it has been gravy for mutual funds measured against it.
“Alibaba has been the shining star,” said Todd Rosenbluth, director of ETFs and mutual-funds research at CFRA. “Owning something that’s off the benchmark and doubled is going to be a significant tail wind for performance.”
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S&P Dow Jones Indices ruled in September 2014 that Alibaba was ineligible for the best-known U.S. equity gauges due to its China domicile. The stock is also excluded from benchmarks such as the Russell 1000 Index.
Alibaba’s results are reminiscent of Apple in 2014. That year, failing to own Apple was one reason why funds trailed benchmark indexes by the most in almost a decade.