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Howard Stutz

Market surge boosts gaming stocks

2 December 2011

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- One day doesn't make a month.

But Wednesday's 490-point surge by the Dow Jones industrial average -- the largest single day gain since March 2009 -- gave the stock prices of several publicly traded casino operators and slot machine manufacturers a lift on the last day of November.

The month as a whole, however, was a mixed bag.

Casino giant Wynn Resorts Ltd., which saw its price per share climb $10.42, or 9.46 percent, to close at $120.56 on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on Wednesday, saw its average daily price fall more than 6 percent during the month.

Brian Gordon, a principal with Las Vegas-based financial consultant Applied Analysis, which charts seven casino operators and three manufacturers for its Gaming Index, said the sector surged Wednesday. The underlying question? Was this a one-day event?

"Overall, the market experienced positive gains," Gordon said. "With continued volatility in the market, it will be interesting to see if this recent activity will hold going forward, or if investor profit-taking will result in stocks prices reversing course."

Six of the companies in the index saw their average daily stock prices increase during November, led by a more than 14 percent uptick for slot machine maker Bally Technologies.

Wynn had the largest average daily decline, followed by M Resort owner Penn National Gaming, which saw its stock price fall almost 5.9 percent in November.

The Gaming Index, which takes into account more than 300 market variables, fell 13 points in the month to close at 457.47.

"Challenges that continued to suppress stock prices for some were sourced to eurozone instability, Macau market speculation, and continued domestic economic uncertainty," Gordon told investors.

In addition to Bally, rival slot machine providers International Game Technology and WMS Industries also saw increases in their average daily stock prices during November. The jump was due in large part to investor interest now that Massachusetts lawmakers have OK'd plans for three resort-style casinos and a slot machine parlor in the state.

Gaming analysts said Massachusetts could house more than 10,000 slot machines.

Roth Capital Partners gaming analyst Todd Eilers said all major slot machine companies would benefit from the expansion in Massachusetts and other markets, such as Ohio, Kansas and Maryland.

"There is a healthy pipeline of new slot demand for the gaming equipment suppliers for the next three years," Eilers told investors in a research note earlier in November. "We continue to believe gaming suppliers are an excellent way for investors to participate in gaming expansion as states continue to search for additional sources of revenue to help fund large budget deficits."

On the final day of November, Boyd Gaming Corp.'s stock price jumped more than 14 percent on the New York Stock Exchange to close at $6.70, up 84 cents. Shares of Pinnacle Entertainment increased 9.88 percent Wednesday, or 95 cents, to close at $10.57.

Las Vegas Sands Corp.'s shares increased $3.04 or 6.96 percent to close at $46.71 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Market surge boosts gaming stocks is republished from