Las Vegas Sands Stock Will Trump Casino Sector: Poll

Las Vegas Sands is expected to be the winner in the second half of 2010, according to a poll of TheStreet.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Las Vegas Sands

(LVS) - Get Report

is expected to be the casino winner in the second-half of 2010, according to investors who respnded to a recent poll of

TheStreet

.

The company, which sees the biggest chunk of its profits come from Macau, is the clear favorite, as 62.7% said Sands will outperform the sector.

On Thursday,

Sands reported a narrower first-quarter loss

, which topped Wall Street's estimates.

During the quarter, Las Vegas Sands lost $28.9 million, or 4 cents a share, compared with a loss of $80.9 million, or 12 cents, in the year-ago period. On an adjusted basis, Sands actually earned 7 cents a share, better than the 3 cents predicted. Revenue surged 24% to $1.33 billion, in line with forecasts.

Of course, Macau has been praised as the shining star for gamers, with profit for Sands' locations in the region quadrupling in the first quarter. But Sands' new Singapore casino, which opened last month, is also expected to be a catalyst for growth going forward.

MGM Mirage

(MGM) - Get Report

came in a distant second, with just 14.8% of voters saying it would prevail in the second half. The Las Vegas-based casino operator swung to a loss in its first-quarter, but said trends in Las Vegas are improving.

MGM lost $96.7 million, or 22 cents a share, compared with a profit of $105.2 million, or 38 cents, last year. Excluding a gain on the extinguishment of debt and a charge related to its CityCenter joint venture, MGM actually lost 14 cents a share, better than the loss of 27 cents analysts expected.

While the lack of convention business hurt MGM during the first quarter, CFO Daniel D'Arrigo says bookings are picking up in the second-half of the year and 2011 looks even stronger.

Wynn Resorts

(WYNN) - Get Report

came in a close third with 14.4% of the vote. Last week it said it swung back to the black in the first quarter, also seeing strength from Macau.

The company posted a profit of $27 million, or 22 cents a share, compared with a loss of $33.8 million, or 30 cents, in the year-ago period. Analysts were calling for earnings of 14 cents a share.

Revenue shot up 23% to $908.9 million from $740 million last year, better than estimates of $849.8 million.

Boyd Gaming

(BYD) - Get Report

came in fourth in the poll, with 5.1% of the vote, while

Penn National Gaming

(PENN) - Get Report

placed last with just 3%. Regional gamers have been hard pressed amid the recession and historically lag behind the recovery of the job market. Unemployment in April was up 9.9%.

The Las Vegas locals market where Boyd operates the chunk of its casinos, is still seeing an unemployment rate of 13.9%.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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