Churchill Downs: At the Races

07/22/2015 8:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Leo Fasciocco

Investment Columnist and Publisher, Ticker Tape Digest

Our latest featured breakout stock provides pari-mutuel horse racing, online account wagering on horse racing, and casino gaming services, notes Leo Fasciocco, editor of Ticker Tape Digest.

With annual revenues of $897 million, Churchill Downs (CHDN) offers casino gaming through its casinos in Mississippi, its slot and video poker operations in Louisiana, its slot operations in Florida, and its casino in Maine.

It also operates racing facilities, such as Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky and the Arlington International Race Course with 10 off-track betting facilities in Illinois.

It also runs Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans along with 12 OTBs in Louisiana; and Calder Race Course in Miami Gardens, Florida.

In addition, the company-through TwinSpires.com-accepts online and mobile pari-mutual wagers, as well as offers streaming video of live horse races along with race replays and an assortment of racing and handicapping information.

CHDN is poised to show strong earnings and that should be the driver to send the stock higher.

This year, analysts are forecasting a 44% jump in earnings to $4 a share from $2.78 a year ago. The stock sells with a price-earnings ratio of 32. That is high but reasonable given the earnings growth outlook.

Going out to 2016, the Street projects a 53% surge in earnings to $6.12 a share from the anticipated $4 this year.

The company tends to be a bit erratic with quarterly results. So, the stock should be watched closely, especially at earnings time.

Technically, the stock has broken out from a seven-week flat base; this move carries the stock to a new all-time high. The push to a new high could draw in more buying.

We also see chances for a stock split, which could also boost the shares. We are targeting a move to $160 on this breakout. A protective stop can be placed near $124.

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