NEW YORK (AP) — A Cantor Fitzgerald analyst on Tuesday upgraded Yahoo Inc., saying he expects further gains in the Internet company's stock price because of the value of its Asian assets.

Youssef Squali raised his rating for Yahoo to "Buy" from Hold" in a Tuesday client note and increased his price target by $5 to $26, suggesting a 14.5 percent gain from Monday's close. Yahoo shares have already risen 55 percent over the past 12 months. In premarket trading Tuesday, the shares added 20 cents to $22.90.

Over the past four years, Yahoo's revenue has dropped about 30 percent, to $5 billion last year, as rivals such as Google and Facebook scooped up more online advertising. The Sunnyvale, Calif., company hired Marissa Mayer, a well-known Google executive, to revitalize its business last year.

Squali said he doesn't expect any big improvements to the company's core finances soon. But he thinks its operations are stabilizing, a $1.5 billion stock buyback was a boon, the Japanese business is doing well and Yahoo's stake in Chinese Internet company Alibaba may be worth nearly double the $8.1 billion that Yahoo has recently estimated.

Yahoo sold half of its stake in Alibaba last year for $7.6 billion and remains with a 23 percent of the Chinese company.

Squali also predicted that an initial public stock offering for Alibaba could come as soon as next year, although the timing remains "elusive."

 

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