MGM Resorts stock is up nearly 10 percent from its October 2 trading price, which was the day after the Las Vegas shooting that left 58 victims dead. Comparatively, the S&P 500, which MGM is a part of, is up only five percent during the same period.
Financial analysts remain bullish on the casino operator, and most are recommending their clients continue buying up MGM shares, or at the very least, maintain their positions.
According to Yahoo! Finance, of the 17 financial analysts who have rated MGM Resorts this month, nine gave a “buy” recommendation, and four others labeled the company a “strong buy.” Just four said to “hold,” and none favored selling.
Net revenues surged 18 percent in the third quarter, but MGM CEO Jim Murren advised investors that the final three-month span might not be so bountiful. The chief executive said that’s not necessarily due to the October 1 shooting, but reduced income from Monte Carlo. The Strip property is undergoing a massive renovation to create two separate hotels, MGM Park and NoMad Las Vegas.
As for the entire publicly traded casino sector, MGM is one of the best performing stocks. According to Zacks Equity Research, MGM Resorts is #36 out of 265 gaming stocks in terms of percentage gains in 2017.
With the general consensus that MGM Resorts remains an attractive offering, new investors are taking positions on the conglomerate, and that includes the company itself. In September, MGM announced plans to repurchase $1 billion worth of common stock from shareholders over the next 12 months.
Meanwhile, the estate of MGM founder Kirk Kerkorian continues to sell off its interest in the company, as mandated by the late billionaire’s will. Last week, Tracinda Corporation, the private investment trust that controls Kerkorian’s fortune, announced it had reached a $338.8 million deal with UBS Securities in exchange for 10 million of its MGM shares.
The transaction gives UBS a 1.8 percent stake in MGM. Tracinda now owns 31.17 million shares, or 6.57 percent of the entire company.
While the Las Vegas shooting forever changed the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of families, the long-term financial impact on America’s playground appears to be minimal. Tourism experts opined in the days following the tragedy that the massacre wouldn’t prevent people from traveling to Las Vegas for both business and leisure.
Just 48 hours after the shooting, the World Travel and Tourism Council said, “Visitors are resilient when it comes to this kind of isolated incident and do not relate it to the destination. Travel and tourism to Las Vegas will hold up.”
By all accounts, it appears MGM Resorts will also live on. Despite MGM attorneys readying to defend the company against a bounty of lawsuits filed by victims and their families for its alleged failure to better secure its Mandalay Bay resort, investors are seemingly looking beyond the shooting fallout.