Las Vegas Sands Gets Promoted to S&P 500, Becomes Third Gaming Company in Widely Followed Index

Posted on: September 26, 2019, 04:12h. 

Last updated on: September 26, 2019, 05:54h.

Shares of Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) surged more than four percent during Thursday’s after-hours trading session on news the stock is being elevated to the S&P 500 Index, one of the world’s most widely observed equity gauges.

Good news for investors in Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands: the stock’s joining the S&P 500. (Image: Newsweek)

Before US markets open on Thursday, Oct. 3, LVS will enter the S&P 500, replacing biotechnology company Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NKTR), which is being demoted to the S&P MidCap 400 Index.

Sands stock will become part of the S&P 500 Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) Casinos & Gaming Sub-Industry Index, said S&P Dow Jones Indices, the issuer of the S&P 500 Index.

LVS, the operator of the Palazzo and the Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip, will be the third gaming stock in the S&P 500, joining rivals MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) and Wynn Resorts, Ltd. (NASDAQ:WYNN).

A request for comment to Las Vegas Sands investor relations department was not immediately returned.

Why It’s Important

An addition to the S&P 500 is significant for a stock for several reasons, including the index’s status as the premier avenue for tracking US large-cap stocks.

The index is widely regarded as the best single gauge of large-cap US equities,” said S&P Dow Jones Indices. “There is over $9.9 trillion indexed or benchmarked to the index, with indexed assets comprising approximately $3.4 trillion of this total. The index includes 500 leading companies and covers approximately 80% of available market capitalization.”

What that means is that active mutual fund managers and passive index funds listed around the world have $9.9 trillion tied to the S&P 500 and that the index provides exposure to 80 percent of the total market value of publicly traded US companies.

When stocks are added to the index, active fund managers and issuers of passive products need to buy shares of the newly added company and sell positions in the departing stock to remain inline with the benchmark. Hence, LVS shares jumped following news of its inclusion in the S&P 500.

What’s Next

The S&P 500 is home to 505 stocks, because it includes dual share classes for some components. For example, the index has two spots occupied by Google parent Alphabet Inc., one under the ticker “GOOG” and the other under “GOOGL.”

The index is cap-weighted, meaning the US company with the largest market value, in this case Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT), commands the largest weight, and so on.

S&P Dow Jones Indices did not say what weight Las Vegas Sands will command in the S&P 500. Presumably, LVS’ percentage of the gauge will be higher than the 0.06 percent assigned to MGM and the 0.04 percent commanded by Wynn simply because Sands is larger than those two companies combined.

LVS had a market capitalization of just under $44 billion as of Thursday’s close, comparable to the market values of biotechnology companies Biogen Inc. (NASDAQ:BIIB) and Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ:ILMN). Those stocks each represent 0.18 percent of the S&P 500.