Why Las Vegas Sands Corp. Fell 18% in September

The casino giant continued to slide last month. Is it ready to bounce back yet?

Jeremy Bowman
Jeremy Bowman
Oct 6, 2015 at 4:00PM
Consumer Goods

What: Las Vegas Sands Corp.'s (NYSE:LVS) bad-luck streak continued last month, with shares falling another 18% according to data from S&P Capital IQ. More bad news for the overall industry pushed the stock to the lowest level it's seen in years last month.

LVS Chart

LVS data by YCharts

So what: The casino chain continued to face adversity from declining numbers in Macau. Macau gaming revenue fell 33% in September, making it the 16th straight month the key figure has fallen in the Chinese casino capital. A scandal over embezzlement at a VIP gambling junket at rival Wynn Resorts has also shaken confidence in Macau.

Meanwhile, Las Vegas gaming revenue also dropped last month for the third time in a row, albeit by a much more modest 4.7%, and dipped 1.4% in Nevada overall. The decline was attributed to a fall in baccarat revenues due to a decline in Asian visitors because of the weakening economy in China. 

Las Vegas Sands shares also reacted to a downward revision on Macau gaming revenue this year by Fitch ratings, with the stock falling 3.5% on September 23. Fitch said it now expects revenue to fall by 33% to 34% instead of its previous mark of 29%.

Now what: There is a silver lining to this dreariness for Las Vegas Sands investors. The worst of the Macau dropoff seems to be in the past, and Fitch sees revenue flattening out next year in Macau, meaning Sands' performance in that market is unlikely to get worse. Meanwhile, Sands is still handsomely profitable there, with an operating margin around 30%, and has been more focused than many of its rivals on the mass market audience, which should help it weather the collapse of the VIP market.

Finally, new growth opportunities in Japan and Korea are on the horizon, and the company offers a blockbuster dividend yield of 6.4% to investors who are willing to ride out the storm. Unlike other kinds of businesses, the profitability of casinos should ensure that that dividend is safe. For all of those reasons, now could be an excellent time to pick up some Las Vegas Sands stock.