Boyd Gaming Garners More Bullish Commentary, But Not Enough to Stem Big Decline
Posted on: February 24, 2020, 10:47h.
Last updated on: February 24, 2020, 11:24h.
Shares of Boyd Gaming (NYSE:BYD) are lower by more than six percent in midday trading, as gaming stocks are following the broader market lower amid intensifying fears that the COVID-19 virus is getting worse and will sap global economic growth in the first quarter.
Monday’s slide in the stock of one of the largest operators in Downtown Las Vegas could be a buying opportunity if some recently bullish analyst chatter proves accurate. Earlier today, Nomura Instinet’s Harry Curtis reiterated a “buy” rating on Boyd stock, while lifting his price target on the name to $39 from $37.
BYD’s 4Q results were slightly better than expected, and management introduced earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, and restructuring or rent costs (EBITDAR) guidance for the year, which at the midpoint is slightly ahead of Street estimates,” said Curtis in a note to clients. “Our 2020-21 estimates increase slightly, and our target price lifts to $39 (from $37).”
Operators with exposure to Macau have been slammed, as the novel coronavirus led to a 15-day closure of gaming properties there. Harsh travel restrictions will keep many tourists away from the peninsula for weeks, if not longer.
Las Vegas-based Boyd has no Macau presence. Beyond its home market, the company has gaming venues in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Skirting The Virus…For Now
Earlier today, the New York Times reported that there are 35 documented cases of the novel coronavirus in the US across eight states. Of that group, there are two confirmed cases in a state where Boyd has operations – Illinois. California has the most with 15 cases.
Other analysts have lauded Boyd due to strength in the lucrative Las Vegas locals segment and the company’s plans for a small expansion at the Fremont Casino.
“We encourage investors to tactically buy any short-term profit taking-related weakness, as the structural underpinnings of our Buy-rated investment thesis remain firmly intact,” said Stifel analyst Steven Wieczynski in a note provided to Casino.org last week.
Boyd also owns the Eldorado, Jokers Wild, and Main Street Station, among other venues in Sin City. In addition to its Las Vegas exposure, the company has gained acclaim on several other fronts. For example, the operator could generate as much as $3 per share in free cash flows this year, which would be among the highest in the regional gaming space.
Boyd has also earned adulation from Wall Street for its sport betting exposure, which isn’t confined to the Silver State. Indiana, Iowa, and Pennsylvania are among the fastest-growing sports wagering states in the country, and Boyd has a skin in New Jersey.
Curtis, the Nomura Instinet analyst, has a $39 price forecast on Boyd, implying significant upside after today’s tumble. The Wall Street average is $37.69.
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