Wynn Stock Surges Thanks To Barclays Upgrade

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Posted on: May 17, 2023, 03:34h. 

Last updated on: May 17, 2023, 03:40h.

Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ: WYNN) rallied Wednesday after an analyst said the already hot stock can deliver more upside for investors.

Macau stocks
Wynn Palace in Macau. An analyst upgraded Wynn stock on Wednesday, citing strength in the Chinese territory. (Image: Bloomberg)

The shares finished higher by 5.70% on volume that was more than double the daily average on the back of a report from Barclays analyst Brandt Montour. Citing pent-up demand in Macau, among other factors, Montour upgraded Wynn to “overweight” from “equal-weight” while lifting his price target on the shares to $135 from $120. The stock closed at $108.98 on Wednesday.

We increasingly believe WYNN will be able to hold onto recent property performance in Las Vegas in spite of macro conditions worsening, or at least hold in better than we think current investor expectations assume, based on a certain level of scarcity value for WYNN’s high-end product that should keep it relatively insulated,” wrote the analyst.

When the Encore operator reported first-quarter results earlier this month, it highlighted strength at its domestic venues, Wynn and Encore Las Vegas, and Encore Boston Harbor. The company also restarted its quarterly dividend, which it halted in 2020 to conserve cash amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Wynn Macau Story Increasingly Bright

Among US-based nontechnology companies, Wynn is one of the most China-dependent, meaning analysts and investors typically view the stock as a Macau story. Fortunately, data confirm gross gaming revenue (GGR) in and visitation to the special administrative region (SAR) are perking up.

In a recent report, S&P Global Ratings said it expects Macau’s mass-market GGR to reach 75% to 85% of 2019 levels this year, up from a prior forecast of 60%. That’s pertinent to Wynn because the operator is proving adept at shifting to a greater emphasis on mass and premium mass bettors away from its past reliance on VIPs.

“We see an opportunity to raise the third out of three Macau stocks under our coverage to OW, as evidence is accruing that WYNN’s Macau business is heading for 2019 EBITDA generation faster than we (or we think anyone) thought, and soon we could be talking about ‘how much above 2019’ Wynn Macau can recover to (based on structurally higher margins ex-junkets),” Montour observed.

Macau’s casino gaming resurgence is being supported by the Chinese government’s efforts to drive domestic tourism and transportation enhancements in the SAR — catalysts that are positive for all six concessionaires, including Wynn Macau.

“Macau’s ramp to full EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) recovery continues to pull forward, which could come as early as the second half of 2023, indicating plenty of potential upside to consensus in the coming quarters, while shares have mostly traded sideways for the last three months,” according to Montour and his team.

Other Catalysts for Wynn Stock

Though Montour and his team didn’t spill much ink on the following factors, these items could be efficacious to the Wynn stock thesis as 2023 unfolds.

Those include forecasts for the operator’s Wynn Al Marjan Island in the United Arab Emirates, which is scheduled to open in early 2027. A longer-ranging and not guaranteed catalyst is the operator’s efforts to procure a New York City-area casino license.

Additionally, Wynn could divest its WynnBET iGaming and online sports wagering unit, something that was previously rumored to be in the cards, to raise capital. Analysts and investors might applaud such a move because the proceeds could be better deployed elsewhere, but Wynn hasn’t said it’s looking to sell that business.

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