Don't fret the season: Alibaba is coming to market

Don't fret the season: Alibaba is coming to market


The fall season is traditionally a rocky time for markets. September is the single worst month of the year for stocks. October is often the month major crashes occur. This fall, stock indexes are at or near record highs and looking a "bit tired.” With Chinese home prices now beginning to fall, is it time to worry?

Perhaps. The latest Morningstar numbers show that all fund types rose in August. One interpretation is that the retail herd is buying into an aging bull market.

But there are also reasons for optimism. The U.S. economy is showing some signs of strength. The biggest ray of hope in these darkening days might be the U.S. IPO market, which is the strongest in years.  

The biggest name about to go public this fall is Alibaba, the massive global online e-commerce site. The company's founder and CEO, Jack Ma, started the company 15 years ago from his one-bedroom apartment in Hangzhou. If you need a bulk order of low-price plastic doodads manufactured in China, you go through Alibaba. That is, the company is more than just an e-retailer, this is the massive online portal that facilitates the mighty stream of global trade between China and the rest of the world. The company's coming IPO is called the largest in American history.

Along with the Alibaba IPO, online-storage outfit Box Inc. and consumer-credit company LendingClub are also expected to float stock this fall. After some extremely slow years there is some life in the IPO market. According to numbers provided by Dealogic this fall could be the busiest for new share listings in decades. So far $46.4 billion has been raised in 2014, the most in the first eight months of any year since 2000.