Las Vegas Sands
shares plunged 13% Friday morning after the Las Vegas and Macau casino owner missed third-quarter revenue and profit estimates by a wide margin.
The general consensus among investors and analysts is that the company's quarter was decent, but not stellar enough for the momentum growth stock. Shares of Las Vegas Sands had climbed 36% since early August, just prior to the company's opening of its massive new Venetian Macau casino in China.
The company said late Thursday that its third-quarter adjusted profit fell 65% to $41.8 million, or 12 cents a share. Analysts, on average, expected earnings per share of 31 cents, according to Thomson Financial.
Revenue rose 19.5% to $661 million, well below the $783 million that analysts expected.
Analysts blamed the weakness on bad luck at Las Vegas Sands' casinos, along with a slow ramp-up of the Venetian Macau. Buy-side sources say some Wall Street analysts may have gotten ahead of themselves in bumping up earnings projections in the recent months.
Shares of Las Vegas Sands recently were down $16.08 to $109.22.
The stock plunge could get some institutional buyers interested in the name again, as most Wall Street analysts reiterated their buy ratings on the stock after the earnings release.
"There's going to be some fresh money looking at this name," says one hedge fund analyst who has a volatility options trade on the stock. This analyst, who has been long Las Vegas Sands in the past, says he wouldn't jump in and buy the stock just yet. But a pullback below $100 could be a great buying opportunity, the analyst says.
In coming weeks "you'll see a ton of the Street estimates coming down," he says.
JPMorgan analyst Harry Curtis defended the stock in a research note to clients Friday morning. He said the Las Vegas Sands' earnings were "fundamentally sound."
"We believe the uncertainty created by the headline numbers should be used as an opportunity to buy the stock," said Curtis, who rates the stock a buy.
For its part, Las Vegas Sands blamed the drop in earnings on increased operating costs and a lower table-games win percentage, along with higher depreciation and interest charges.
The company had flat revenue at its Venetian in Las Vegas, while revenue at the Sands Macau fell 12%. The Venetian Macau, open for just a month during the quarter, added $150 million to revenue.
One question going forward is how much the new Venetian Macau cannibalizes demand from the company's Sands Macau property.
In Macau, Las Vegas Sands suffered from low hold percentage -- meaning gamblers were generally luckier than usual at the tables.
Lucky gamblers also managed to bring down profits at the Venetian Casino in Las Vegas. The property suffered from its lowest table-game hold percentage in four years, according to a research note from Jefferies analyst Lawrence Klatzkin.
The hold percentage at the property was 14.7% in the quarter, compared with 23.4% a year ago, and a normal range of 20% to 22%, Klatzkin said.
Las Vegas Sands' miss sent shares of Macau competitors lower as well.
recently was down 6.8% to $144.40, while
dropped 3% to $14.11.