Casino giant Wynn Resorts (WYNN -0.83%) has faced tumultuous times over the past couple of years. The company rode the wave of growth in the Asian gaming capital of Macau, making that market even more important to Wynn's overall success than its landmark properties on the Las Vegas Strip. Yet when Macau pulled back, so did Wynn's stock price, and only recently have investors started to have hope that times might get better for the casino industry in the future.
Let's take a closer look at three reasons Wynn Resorts stock might rise further.
1. Macau has shown signs of bottoming out.
The plunge in gaming revenue in Macau was the primary reason Wynn Resorts lost more than three-quarters of its value between early 2014 and its lows late last year and early this year. Given how much Wynn and many of its peers had depended on Macau for their overall success when things were going well in the Asian gaming capital, the size of the share-price decline when business conditions in Macau deteriorated dramatically wasn't terribly surprising.
Yet things might be turning around in Macau. For the month of August, gambling revenue climbed a modest 1.1% from August 2015, and that marked the first positive figure for the Macau market since May 2014. That news sparked upward movement for casino stocks with exposure to Macau, including Wynn, and further good news could lead to additional gains. Investors have reined in their expectations for Macau, but the Asian gaming capital will remain a vital part of Wynn's strategy going forward.
2. The new Wynn Palace looks promising.
Along those lines, Wynn's new property in Macau might well be opening at an optimal time for the company. The new Wynn Palace opened its doors in August, finally completing a project that took six years to achieve and cost more than $4 billion.
Wynn Palace has several potential positive impacts on Wynn Resorts. First, the move more than doubles Wynn's hotel-room count in Macau, giving it optimal exposure to a bounce in the gaming market there if it comes in the near future. Perhaps more importantly, Wynn Resorts seeks to strike a better balance between attracting a mass audience and catering to higher-end gamblers, with appeal to the mass market having become more important recently. With China seeking to crack down on so-called VIP gaming, Wynn needs to diversify its customer base away from that high-roller set. Wynn Palace certainly has amenities that still cater to VIPs, but by creating a presence on the popular Cotai Strip area of Macau, Wynn is setting itself up to take full advantage of any recovery there.
3. The U.S. casino market could start to speed up.
Those who follow the gaming industry have largely discounted the value of older markets like Las Vegas in driving financial performance for casino companies like Wynn Resorts. The downturn in Macau reminded those investors that domestic results are still important, and Wynn has the potential to see considerable success in its U.S. operations.
In its most recent quarter, Wynn continued to see pressure on its Vegas operations, with a 1.1% drop in net revenue and only a minimal 0.2% rise in adjusted property EBITDA. Yet more recently, some signs of a potential jump in Las Vegas could point to better performance for Wynn in the third quarter. For instance, during the month of July, Las Vegas Strip revenue jumped almost 17%, with strong results from a variety of table games and slots helping to drive the positive performance. Activity moderated slightly in August, but a solid U.S. economy has made Las Vegas a more stable and reliable source of revenue and profit for Wynn and its peers. That trend should continue, and other projects, like the Wynn Everett location outside Boston, could also drive huge future growth.
Wynn Resorts stock has bounced back from the worst of its hit, but it still remains well below where it traded two to three years ago. If some of these factors go in its favor, Wynn Resorts could see its stock rebound further in the near future.