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Best of Liz Benston

Gaming Guru

Liz Benston

Wynn shares plummet after boss's warning

15 February 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Wynn Las Vegas has lost a billion dollars of its market worth since Tuesday afternoon, when casino boss Steve Wynn, in spite of fairly upbeat earnings at his company, warned investors that the Strip won't be immune from an economic slowdown.

Wynn Resorts shares lost more than 7 percent of their value while most other gaming stocks traded higher today.

That's just the latest sign of Wall Street nervousness about the Las Vegas Strip, where prospects are less spectacular given evidence that more budget-conscious consumers are tightening their purse strings.

Wynn Resorts executives blamed slightly lower fourth quarter profit at Wynn Las Vegas on luckier table games players and less pedestrian traffic because of the closure of the nearby New Frontier and Stardust casinos. Operating profit at the property's Wynn Macau resort in China, where the company generates about half of its earnings, soared 70 percent.

Analysts are reading between the lines.

In a research note to investors Tuesday, Bear Stearns stock analyst Joe Greff decreased his 2008 and 2009 earnings forecasts for Wynn Resorts "based on what we perceive to be weaker than expected trends in Las Vegas and stiffer competition in Macau."

After today's market slide, Wynn shares are trading where they began this year and are 30 percent above their 52-week low last summer.

Wynn shares plummet after boss's warning is republished from