Casino Stocks and Firearm Shares React to Las Vegas Massacre

Posted on: October 3, 2017, 11:00h. 

Last updated on: October 3, 2017, 11:10h.

Las Vegas casino stocks faced a turbulent day of trading on Monday. The market reacted strongly after a 64-year-old killer opened fire late Sunday night in Las Vegas from a 32nd-floor suite at Mandalay Bay, aiming an automatic weapon onto 22,000 concertgoers attending an outdoor country music festival.

Stock market reacts day after Las Vegas massacre
The stock market reacted predictably to uncertainty facing the immediate future of gaming operations on the day after a Las Vegas shooter killed 59 concertgoers from his Mandalay Bay suite overlooking the heavily packed event. (Image: Getty)

The massacre resulted in the loss of at least 59 lives, the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, with over 500 more injured.

And for a city that relies on tourism, with the gambling and resort industries at its core, Wall Street’s reaction to the tragedy was immediate and hard-hitting in and of itself.

MGM Resorts, parent company to Mandalay Bay, saw its shares dip the furthest. It closed at $32.58 last Friday, but by Monday afternoon at 4 pm ET, stocks were down 5.5 percent, to $30.78.

Stocks Mixed

For casino stocks overall, after pre-market trading sent nearly all Las Vegas gaming companies into the red, some managed to increase value or stay flat.

Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands went from $64.16 to $64.97, a 1.26 percent gain. Caesars, expected to exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week, was stagnant. Boyd Gaming was also flat. But Wynn Resorts’ stock went from $148.92 to $147.07, a loss of 1.24 percent.

Ancillarily, firearm stocks rose on Monday, perhaps reacting to an anticipated purchasing rush that typically follows these types of events, as gun owners worry about future regulatory crackdowns. American Outdoor Brands (formerly known as Smith & Wesson) rose 3.2 percent. Sturm Ruger climbed 3.5 percent.

Daily Tragedies Inuring Market

The fact that investors didn’t flee the casino conglomerates might show that Americans are simply becoming accustomed to such horrific events. It could also signify that shareholders don’t believe tourists will shun Las Vegas in the long-term.

“If you go back to a shooting in a casino in Manila, the Orlando incident, and Paris, in each of those incidences those cities recovered and we expect the same for Las Vegas,” Normura Managing Director Harry Curtis told CNBC.    

MGM’s Bellagio, along with several other gaming operators, including Boyd Gaming, Station Casinos, and the South Point, have been offering free accommodations to families affected by the massacre.

Meanwhile, Mandalay Bay remained quiet Tuesday morning, as investigators continue to follow the scant information breadcrumbs, while trying to make sense of why 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, a rumored millionaire with no prior criminal history, obtained and got at least 23 firearms, along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition, into his hotel suite to commit the mass murders.