Las Vegas Sands Rises on Venetian Macao

New York (AP) — Shares of Las Vegas Sands Corp. climbed Tuesday as investors dismissed the casino operator’s fourth-quarter earnings miss, instead concentrating on improved Venetian Macao results, according to an analyst.

Late Monday Sheldon Adelson-led Las Vegas Sands said its quarterly profit slid 65 percent to 11 cents per share. Adjusted earnings came in at 20 cents per share, which missed the 35 cents-per-share estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

While the quarterly results were lackluster, Goldman Sachs analyst Steven Kent said he expected investors to focus more on positive results from the Venetian Macao, including USD 117 million in fourth-quarter property earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. The Venetian Macao opened in August.

„Venetian Macau is key for future Cotai results and (share price) and it will likely be reassuring for investors that the earnings of this new casino came in closer to expectations,“ he wrote in a client note.

Similarly, Shaun Kelley of Banc of America Securities said he was encouraged by margin improvement at the Venetian Macao and margin stabilization at Sands Macao. The analyst reiterated a „Neutral“ rating.

Kent was also pleased that the Las Vegas-based company reported its development projects are basically on track and on budget. Las Vegas Sands said construction of the Four Seasons Macao is targeted for a June completion and said it has continued to progress on its master plan to create a trade-fair, convention and leisure resort on Hengqin Island in China. The company also said the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore is still on schedule to open late next year.

Kent maintained a „Buy“ rating, partly on the company’s long-term earnings potential.

However, Wachovia Capital Markets LLC analyst Brian McGill said he was disappointed with fourth-quarter results and, unlike Kent, blamed underperformance at the Venetian Macao and Sands Macao.

Shares of Las Vegas Sands gained USD 7.45, or 9.2 percent, to USD 88.90. Over the past year, the stock has traded between USD 70.70 and USD 148.76.