ynn Resorts, the group leader, is up 17% so far this year. Las Vegas Sands has turned in a 38% gain. Shuffle Master is coming up fast on the inside, with a 54% year-to-date gain.
Both Wynn and Las Vegas Sands have significant investment in Macau, the only city in China where casino gambling is legal. The city's 34 casinos hauled in a reported us$ 33.5 billion in 2011 revenue. Casino revenues rose 35% in January and 22% last month.
Deutsche Bank last week lifted its forecast for Macau's revenue growth this year to 25%. (In US, Las Vegas also saw healthy gains in January, with gaming revenue up 29%, although analysts are doubtful of a continued recovery this year.)
Las Vegas Sands' new Sands Cotai Central resort will feature a 623-room Conrad Hotel, Hilton's luxury hotel brand. Plans call for another 5,000 rooms under the Holiday Inn and Sheraton names. It is reportedly the last casino-resort development planned for the city until 2015, when new construction is scheduled to start.
Las Vegas Sands shares have been in an uptrend since mid-January. The stock began a long consolidation in November 2010 and only recently topped those prior highs. Its Accumulation/Distribution Rating of A- is solid.
Wynn rose 2% Monday after Citigroup raised the stock's price target to 140 from 125, but kept its neutral rating. Wynn shares have just retaken the 200-day line as they climb the right side of a possible base.
Shuffle Master has been a more recent riser into the industry's leadership. The company makes casino table games and equipment such as card shufflers and roulette chip sorters. It is now knocking off successive new highs after multiple tests of its 10-week moving average.