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Buy Melco Crown on Stock Dip?

Melco Crown Entertainment could make a good buy, as shares slip after it reports first-quarter earnings.

(Melco article updated with current stock movements, additional analyst commentary, and new stock analysis.)



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Melco Crown Entertainment


is giving up it's earlier gains, after posting a first-quarter loss.

During the quarter, the Macau-based casino operator lost $12.5 million, or 2 cents a share, compared with a loss of $35.3 million, or 8 cents, in the year-ago period. This was in-line with analysts' estimates.

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Revenue more than doubled to $567.6 million from $216.5 million, receiving a boost from its City of Dreams property, which opened in June 2009. Wall Street was calling for revenue of $558.01 million.

Management also noted that Macau gaming revenue in April is up 70% for the first 27 days of the month, which is above reports that are indicating a 62% surge for the period.

Given Melco's exposure to what has been a lucrative Macau market, its mass-market appeal with City of Dreams, improved liquidity and an inexpensive valuation relative to other Macau operators, J.P. Morgan analyst Carlo Santarelli says investors should buy the stock on its current weakness.

Shares of Melco are slipping 1.3% to $4.66, after trading as high as $4.95 earlier in the day.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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