Melco Crown (MPEL) is one of the most undervalued stocks in the gaming sector as Macau appears on track to post its fifth consecutive month of gains, according to analysts at Bernstein.
Bernstein has an "outperform" rating and $21.50 price target on the company's shares, a potential upside of 28% over the stock's previous closing price. The stock is up 3.15% to $17.33 in afternoon trading Tuesday.
"MPEL is the most undervalued stock in our coverage. The company is one of the premier Premium Mass operators in Macau," analysts Vitaly Umansky, Zhen Gong, and Yang Zie wrote in their note. "Key catalysts include stronger ramp up at Studio City, City of Dreams successfully defending its position in Premium Mass, and an eventual buyout of the minority in Studio City."
The firm's checks suggest that month to date gross gaming revenue in the gaming region is up 10% vs. November, and that Macau revenue in December could increase between 12% and 14% year over year.
Macau had experienced 26 consecutive months of year over year revenue declines due to China's crackdown on political corruption, which negatively affected the VIP gaming segment on which the region had been dependent.
"Although unlikely to disappear as some fear, the VIP model has been structurally challenged by China's anti-corruption campaign, which has dampened high-end spend, junket liquidity and junkets facing regulatory tightening," the analysts wrote.
However, while cracking down on that segment of business, China has been promoting Macau as a resort town and more than just a destination for gamblers. That shift will help Macau's fortunes continue turn around next year.
"Mass will be the driver of rejuvenated growth beginning in 2H 2016 and continuing through the rest of the decade - the execution a supply driven market," analysts wrote.
Sands China (LVS) - Get Report received a "market perform" rating, because the firm believes that the company's current stock price reflects fair market value. Despite that, "yield seeking and more long-term focused investors could find the stock compelling," analysts wrote.