Why Boyd Gaming Corporation's Shares Popped Today

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of domestic casino company Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE: BYD  ) jumped 16% today after a hedge fund disclosed a stake in the company.

So what: Elliott Associates LP disclosed that it is holding a total exposure to Boyd Gaming of about 7% of the company. The fund has bought stakes in troubled companies in the past and pushed for change, but it's still uncertain what it will do with this stake.  

Now what: It wouldn't be shocking to see Elliott Associates push for a REIT, much in the way Penn National split its company into operating and real estate pieces. But David Bain of Sterne, Agee & Leach said today that the Boyd family would have to reduce its stake from around 30% to make that possible. I wouldn't take the fund's actions as either a buy or sell sign by itself, but if you're bullish on the stock it could bolster the opinion that more shareholder value could be unlocked. But there are a lot of headwinds in regional gaming and that's not a trend I'm looking to get in front of right now.

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