ompared to a year ago, the index remains down 6.3 %. Unlike the previous month, the AGEM Index clearly outpaced the broader market measurements as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard and Poor's 500 Index increased 3 % and 3.2 %, respectively, during the month of October.
Evidence suggests gaming revenues within the United States have begun to stabilize and the outlook for convention and business travel will pick up in 2011. Nevertheless, with gaming revenues in many jurisdictions remaining at levels not seen since earlier in the decade, it is expected that capital expenditures to replace antiquated gaming equipment and systems will remain modest in the near term.
With many gaming operators holding cash to strengthen balance sheets and seek out new opportunities, particularly abroad, global gaming suppliers will likely not return to historical norms until a more aggressive recovery in the labor force, discretionary spending and travel takes hold.
Finding a way to progress out of the worst ecnomic downturn since the 1930s, gaming operators are limited to their core business - gaming - but adding value by how they operate, under what brand, and with whom, is always evolving. This has never been more clear than in the emerging recovery.
In a tit-for-tat like response, Las Vegas Sands is considering changing its name, including the removal of "Las Vegas," to highlight its presence and operations throughout world. The news comes just months after MGM Mirage officially became MGM Resorts International under the same precept. These further reaching brands are likely in anticipation of further expansions, particularly abroad -- a condition that may likely benefit equipment and systems makers.
In another effort to add value by extending its customer reach around the world and from the playbook of the soon-to-open The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Las Vegas Sands announced that it would collaborate on a marketing deal with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). The 10-year deal gives IHG the ability to offer the Venetian and Palazzo resorts to its 52 million Priority Club members. The deal gives IHG its first luxury presence in Las Vegas, and provides Las Vegas Sands the ability to tap into a new customer segment, which could boost its occupancy and convention business.
The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, which is scheduled to open next month, made a similar move entering into a distribution agreement with Marriott International's Autograph Collection, its portfolio of luxury hotels and resorts including The Ritz-Carlton, which will be featured as a partner hotel online. The agreement gives Marriott's 32 million customers the ability to participate in its loyalty program, the only resort to do so at the core of the Las Vegas Strip. The latest moves are just another way gaming operators are trying to add value and diversify streams of revenue.
Gaming operators are also looking to add value by raising additional capital to fuel new opportunities or repay debt. Expansion opportunities bode well for global gaming suppliers.
The Nevada Gaming Commission granted Harrah's, whom went private in 2008, approval for a public stock offering. In an effort to raise more than us$ 500 million, Harrah's will likely use the additional capital to complete its Octavius Tower at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas and build casinos in both Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio. Wynn Resorts Limited also filed a registration statement planning to sell additional stock shares.