Travel and leisure stocks are getting pounded Thursday amid concerns that the novel coronavirus will spread in the US. The fears are being exacerbated by a confirmed case in California involving a patient that did not travel to countries affected by the respiratory illness.
That patient resides in Solano County, California, near an Air Force base that’s being used as a quarantine area for travelers returning from Asia. The case has market participants fretting Covid-19 spreads more easily than initially thought, fears that have the S&P 500 on pace for its worst weekly performance since the global financial crisis.
MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) is lower by three percent. Entering today, shares of the largest operator on the Las Vegas Strip were down almost 17 percent over the past week, and off 25.19 percent from the 52-week high. Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) stock was slightly positive after faltering this morning, but that name is 27.69 percent below its 52-week high. Declines of 20 percent or more from the most recent high indicate bear markets.
In midday trading, the benchmark domestic equity gauge is lower by 2.10 percent, but shares of gaming companies – both those with significant Macau exposure and limited international footprints – are being pummeled, as investors fret an outbreak of the virus in the US will keep tourists away from casinos.
Because of a spate of scuttled conventions and events around the world, some investors are growing pensive that cancellations will eventually make their way to Las Vegas.
Between cruise ships being quarantined, the Tokyo marathon being cancelled, study abroad programs refunded, and the scare that the Tokyo Olympics could be affected, the Coronavirus has the travel industry on edge. Bookings are down, flights and trips are being cancelled, and the market is suffering for it,” said HotelPlanner.com CEO Bruce Rosenberg in a note out today.
Last week, the Mobile World Congress, the largest convention for the global mobile phone business, was postponed. Facebook recently scrapped its Global Marketing Summit scheduled for March 9 to 12 in San Francisco. Overall, more than two dozen exhibitions and conferences have been delayed or canceled around the world because of the coronavirus.
To date, there haven’t been official cancellations in Sin City. But if that situation arises, it would deal a blow to operators, including Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR), Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS), and MGM.
For its part, Caesars has already booked $100 million in business and more than 240,000 room nights for the Caesars Forum conference center, which is slated to open next month.
By some estimates, at least 94 percent of Fortune 1000 companies have cited the coronavirus as a significant disruption to supply chains.
As such, analysts are slashing earnings and revenue estimates for companies across multiple industries.
For example, 2020 consensus estimates on Wynn’s earnings and revenue are lower by 50.3 percent and 10.4 percent, respectively, since Dec. 31. Forecasts for MGM earnings are down 39.3 percent since the end of 2019. Both gaming companies are among the 10 worst offenders in terms of downward earnings revisions since Dec. 31.