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Insiders sell Wynn Resorts shares; analysts boost expectations

13 February 2014

LAS VEGAS -- Executives with Wynn Resorts, Limited have sold thousands of shares this month as its stock is trading near a 52-week high, leading analysts to examine their ratings and price targets.

Matt Maddox, chief financial officer of Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts, topped the list of those selling stock, shedding 30,000 shares Feb. 3, which left him with 73,560. As of the close of trading Wednesday, Maddox’s stake in Wynn Resorts was valued at $16.26 million.

Linda Chen, president of Wynn International Marketing, sold 10,000 shares Feb. 6, which left her with 144,600 shares. Chen’s stock is worth $31.97 million.

Robert Miller, a company director, sold 10,000 shares Feb. 3, leaving him with 2,500 shares and an investment of $552,800. John Strzemp, chief administrative officer and executive vice president, sold 5,000 shares on Feb. 4 leaving him with 250,500 shares worth $55.39 million.

So far in February, Wynn Resorts’ executives have sold 55,000 shares in the first large insider sale of 2014. In January, no shares owned by executives were sold, according to a survey of Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Shares of Wynn Resorts lost $3.17, or 1.41 percent, to close at $221.12 on Wednesday after reaching a new 52-week high of $226 early Wednesday in modest trading on the Nasdaq.

The company’s solid financial performance last year and on-track expansion with its Wynn Palace casino in Cotai has caused analysts to re-evaluate their expectations. David Bain, an analyst with Sterne Agee, rates Wynn Resorts “neutral” with a price target of $225.

“We also apply $70 per share for its Cotai project,” Bain said in a research report.

Wynn Resorts, together with its subsidiaries, operates casinos in Las Vegas and Macau. The gaming company on Jan.30 reported profit rose to $2.27 per share, excluding items, compared with $1.17 in 2012. Revenues were $1.51 billion in 2013.

The company plans to open its Wynn Palace resort on Macau’s Cotai Strip during the first half of 2016. So far, Wynn Resorts has invested $704 million in the property with a final price of $4 billion.

“Bull investors point to its (calendar year) 2016 opening of Wynn Palace in Cotai Macau as transformative,” Bain said. “We agree, but also caution that Macau market sentiment shifts may cause more sporadic downside volatility than peers given the still lengthy pre-opening time span combined with a slower … market growth outlook.”

Zacks Equity Research upgraded Wynn Resorts to “outperform” from “neutral” with a price target of $267.

“Earnings last year almost doubled yea-over-year,” the report said. “The upside was backed by the company’s solid Macau business as well as a decent performance in Las Vegas. Going forward, we expect the company to continue this trend given its strong brand potential, long-term growth potential in Macau and its ability to navigate in a difficult operating environment.”

In a seven-page report, Zacks noted the approach affirms Wynn Resorts’ “positive outlook and reflects confidence in its fundamentals.”
Insiders sell Wynn Resorts shares; analysts boost expectations is republished from