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Cards on Table for Casinos
Investors looking to double down on gaming stocks should look for
rising earnings guidance when casino operators release first-quarter
earnings this week, or take profits and find a new sector to bet on.
Optimism and bullishness has reigned supreme since Caesars
Entertainment, which reports on Thursday, raised guidance on March
10. In the five weeks since, earnings estimates and analyst ratings on
many gaming stocks have been rising along with share prices. Through
last Friday’s close, the Dow Jones Casino Index was up 23.2% year to
date, the fourth-best performing sector of the market and far better
than the S&P 500.
But with optimism high, investors may opt to sell on the earnings
news, especially with companies that have already guided higher, and
shift their investments toward sectors where valuations aren’t so tight.
MGM Mirage, the world’s largest gaming company, and Harrah’s
Entertainment Group are set to release on Wednesday, giving
investors their first look at the large-cap gaming space.
Judging from Tuesday’s first-quarter earnings release from Station
Casinos, gaming stocks could be in for even better news ahead.
Station, which caters to the Las Vegas locals’ market, beat analyst
estimates and guided higher for 2004.
The initial market reaction to Station’s earnings indicated investors
were willing to buy on the good news. Station was up $1.72, or 3.6%, to
$48.99 Tuesday on more than 800,000 shares traded, nearly double its
average daily volume of 422,000.
"Given the gaming revenue results reported thus far, we suggest that
there is significant potential for first-quarter earnings to surprise to
the upside across the board," said William Schmitt, gaming analyst at
CIBC World Markets.
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2004 Online Casino News Archive