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Alibaba Update: Intriguing Developments With These "Backdoor" Profit Plays

And thanks to some new developments, it’s a topic we need to revisit.

In a development late last week, the Hong Kong-based Alibaba said it’s looking at early September for what could be the biggest initial public stock offering (IPO) in global financial history. The company is now planning to price its offering sometime after Labor Day, a person briefed on the matter said on Thursday.

Alibaba valued itself at $130 billion in a recent regulatory filing, up from an earlier recent estimate of $116 billion. Valuations of the company have surged over the past year after earnings essentially tripled. A year ago the company was valued at $62.5 billion.

The big debate on Wall Street right now has to do with how Alibaba will value itself for purposes of the IPO.

  • U.S. Housing Market Recovery Just Rescued 4 Million Homeowners House on white background. See portfolio for similar Images

    In further signs of a U.S. housing market recovery, home prices are up - meaning a whopping 33% fewer homeowners are underwater.

    When the U.S. housing market bottomed out in 2008, nearly one in six homeowners owed more on mortgages than their homes were worth. That translated to 12 million underwater homeowners.

    But the outlook has improved considerably.

    That's because home prices, which peaked in 2007, rose 7.4% in November from a year ago, according to real estate firm CoreLogic. That's the largest year-over-year increase since 2006, when the housing industry was nearing its peak.

    As home values rose, the number of "underwater" borrowers fell last year by almost 4 million, and that total could drop to 4 million within two years, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM).

    That's good news not only for the housing industry, but for the entire economy.

    "For most middle class households, homes are by far their biggest asset," Karen Weaver, head of market strategy and research at investment firm Seer Capital Management LP told Bloomberg News. "So once the housing market starts to recover it helps consumer spending, it helps the whole economy."

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