Macau January Revenue Up but Falls Below Expectations
Macau revenue grew for the sixth consecutive month in January

Macau revenue rose year over year in January, continuing the region's streak of six consecutive months of gains, however the 3.1% increase was well short of analysts' expectations of an 8.5% increase. 

The results were also a decline from December's growth rate of 8% and November's 14.4%. 

Socks with Macau exposure fell following the release on Wednesday, but have now begun to recover with Las Vegas Sands  (LVS) rising 0.35% to $51.86, Wynn Resorts  (WYNN)  gaining 0.25% to $97.61, MGM Resorts Int'l  (MGM) and Melco Crown Entertainment  (MPEL)   up 2% to $16.83 Friday morning. 

Over 60% of Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts' revenue comes from Macau.

A government crackdown on corruption caused the Chinese gaming region to experience 26 consecutive months of year over year revenue declines, so even though growth in January missed expectations, an increase in revenue is still seen as a positive for casinos exposed to Macau. 

China's government has made it a point to pivot away from Macau's image as a destination for gamblers into a more tourist friendly, Las Vegas-like resort getaway. 

When Wynn reported its fourth quarter results last week, investors seemingly ignored the fact the company missed analysts' bottom line estimates of $0.87 per share by $0.37 and sent the stock soaring based on Wynn's results in Macau. 

The newly opened Wynn Palace in Macau reported revenue of $418.7 million in its first full quarter of operation while Wynn Macau, the company's other 10-year old Macau property, reported revenue of $498.4 million. 

The company's fourth quarter earnings grew nearly just under 40% thanks to the new casino and Wynn outperformed Sands' Parisian Macau casino during the period. 

Meanwhile, Las Vegas Sands shares fell last week after missing analysts' $0.66 per share earnings expectations by four cents. Revenue of $3.08 billion also missed Wall Street's $3.12 billion expectations. 

Sands has invested more than $13 billion in Macau, but casino cannibalization has pressured less diversified operations.  

Macau has been getting more crowded over the years with three new casinos opening in 2016 and two more scheduled to debut this year. 

MGM is scheduled to open the $3.1 billion MGM Cotai resort in the second half of 2017. The casino resort is expected to have about 1,500 hotel rooms, though it's original opening date of late 2016 has twice been pushed back. 

Both MGM Resorts and Melco are expected to report fourth quarter results on February 15.

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