Wall Street still likes the
story. It's just that the stock has become a little pricey for some analysts' taste.
For the second time this week, an analyst has downgraded the casino company's shares from buy to neutral, noting the steep price run-up of recent months.
The stock slid $1.32, or 2.2%, to $59.08 Friday after the latest downgrade, which came from UBS analyst Robin Farley. Shares of other casino operators were mixed, and the Dow Jones Casinos Index was up just 0.3%. On Wednesday, Wynn shares hit a 52-week high of $61.14, up from around $40 in August.
"We are actually bumping up our
price target slightly to $63.50 from $61.00," Farley wrote in a research note. "But, given Wynn's 66% gain in the last three months vs. 9% for
, our target is not enough to sustain a buy." (UBS does and seeks to do business with companies covered in its research notes.)
Wynn is a casino operator without an operating casino -- at least not yet. The company is the brainchild of casino wiz Stephen Wynn, who sold Mirage Resorts in 2000 to what is now
for $6.4 billion. Wynn plans to open a lavish 3,500-room casino resort on the Las Vegas Strip next April and another property in the southern Chinese city of Macau next fall.
Wynn's stock may continue to do well as the Las Vegas grand opening nears, Farley wrote. "However, Wynn's planned Macau property and the company's concession to develop other properties in that market continue to account for the majority of the stock's value, which is already heavily reflective of that potential, in our view."
On Tuesday, Jeremy Cogan, Farley's counterpart at Banc of America Securities, cut Wynn from buy to neutral, saying positive news is already baked into the stock's price. (Banc of America Securities has done and expects to do investment banking business with Wynn Resorts.)
"We remain fans of the Wynn story," Cogan wrote in a note accompanying his downgrade. "We continue to believe Wynn is in the crosshairs of three of the strongest themes in gaming (i.e., significant growth opportunities in Macau, strong Las Vegas fundamentals, and the recent speculation on land values on 'The Strip'
in Las Vegas). Even so, at current levels we think most of the good news is discounted."
Cogan recently visited Macau and wrote that capacity growth in the southern Chinese city appears stronger than expected. "While we knew that new capacity was coming, our tour of Macau this week has clearly demonstrated that supply could exceed current Wall Street expectations despite the limited number of participants, i.e., we see the market gearing for a three- to four-time increase in table capacity by 2010 versus a healthy three-time increase in revenue," he wrote.
Separately on Friday, Wynn Resorts announced its Wynn Las Vegas subsidiary has commenced a cash tender offer for $247.6 million of 12% mortgage notes that come due in 2010. The offer expires Dec. 11. The subsidiary plans to finance the offer with a portion of approximately $2.2 billion in new debt it plans to arrange.