Shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/201948298/composite BABA +0.79% shot up 7.3% toward a more than 6-week high in premarket trading Wednesday, putting them on track for a fifth-straight gain, after co-founder Jack Ma made his first public appearance in nearly three months. The rally in the China-based internet giant's shares puts them on track to open at the highest price seen during regular-session hours since Dec. 4. A spokesperson for the Jack Ma Foundation confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that Ma participated in the online ceremony of the annual Rural Teacher Initiative event on Jan. 20. Ma hasn't been seen in public since Oct. 24, when Ma spoke at a financial forum and criticized regulators for stifling financial and technological innovation, as the WSJ reported. That led to regulators to derail Ant Group Co., which Ma controls, from going public. Since Ma's last public appearance through Tuesday, Alibaba's stock had dropped 18.8%, while the iShares MSCI China ETF /zigman2/quotes/206267952/composite MCHI -0.48% rose 13.0% and the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -1.31% advanced 9.6%.