Las Vegas Meets Asia

10/04/2013 8:00 am EST


Michael Cintolo

Vice President of Investments and Chief Analyst, Cabot Heritage Corporation

Our favorite idea from our latest screen is a gaming stock that was a leader from 2009-2010 and has re-emerged after a two-year rest, notes Mike Cintolo, editor of Cabot Top Ten Trader.

It's not the go-go growth stock it was a couple of years ago, but Las Vegas Sands (LVS) is a leader again because of its top-notch casino and resort facilities, mainly in Macau, China, but also in Singapore, where its Marina Bay Sands facility is a cash cow.

In fact, the term cash cow is being tossed around a lot when talking about Las Vegas Sands recently.

In the second quarter, while earnings were up 48% to 65 cents per share, the firm's pre-tax cash flow totaled a whopping $1.41 per share (about half came from Macau, 30% from Singapore and the rest from the US).

And management isn't being shy about returning it to shareholders via regular dividends (quarterly payment of 35 cents per share, for a yield of 2.1%), and special dividends (it paid a $2.75 per share dividend last December).

The company also conducts share buybacks ($47 million worth in the second quarter, with another $2 billion coming), along with the continued development and expansion of its existing facilities.

Long-term investors are intrigued by the possibility of gaming in Japan, which could approve a measure allowing new casinos now that the Olympics are coming there in 2020.

We don't expect the stock to match its awesome 2009-2010 performance going forward, but business remains buoyant, and with more and more Chinese (and others in the region) using gambling as a form of entertainment, growth should remain solid.

Technically, LVS nearly went under during the 2008 bust, but then rebounded in 2009, and soared in 2010, as Macau recovered and as Marina Bay Sands ramped up at an amazing clip.

But then came a long winter—the stock was at $55 late last month, compared to $52 at its peak in November 2010!

Now, though, the bulls are back in control, with LVS breaking out three weeks ago and marching ahead ever since on solid volume. Officially, we do think you can buy some here, but a dip of a couple of points wouldn't surprise us either.

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