Why This Analyst Is Gambling Big on Wynn Resorts

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Wynn Resorts Ltd. (NASDAQ: WYNN) shares suffered an incredible loss over the course of 2014 and well into 2015. The stock still is at about half of its peak value from back in 2014. However it has made a solid run in 2017 (up 35%) so far, and more investors are coming around to the idea. Also many analysts have taken away their negative ratings over the past few months, but now Wynn has a new street-high analyst target from an independent research firm.

Argus Research has upgraded its rating on Wynn Resorts to Buy from Hold, with a price target of $135. Wynn shares closed at $116.74 on Tuesday, prior to the release of this report. Also worth noting is that shares have risen above the current Thomson Reuters consensus analyst target of $109.18. What should stand out here is that the highest sell-side research target price was $134, so Argus is now the highest official street-high analyst target.

Remember that the Thomson Reuters research universe is made up of sell-side research analysts rather than independent research and buy-side research.

Because the VIP market in Macau improving more quickly than anticipated, Argus raised its 2017 earnings estimate to $4.30 per share from $4.20. For 2018, the firm increased its estimate to $5.00 from $4.80. The consensus estimates call for $4.21 and $4.93 per share for 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Withstanding stiff competition, the Wynn Palace in Macau has shown consistent improvement since it opened in August 2016, with occupancy and room rates both rising in the fourth quarter. Additionally, gross gaming revenue in Macau has increased over the past eight months, reversing a prior decline.

Argus commented in its report:

We expect this recovery to continue over the remainder of 2017, helped by new cruises to Macau for VIP customers and marketing efforts targeted at other visitors. We also look for Wynn to benefit from strong tourist demand and a heavy convention schedule in Las Vegas. We expect these positive trends in both Macau and Las Vegas to result in accelerated earnings growth for Wynn over the next two years. Our long-term rating also remains Buy.

Shares of Wynn closed Friday at $116.83, with a consensus analyst price target of $109.47 and a 52-week trading range of $82.51 to $119.80.