Penn National Going Gangbusters as Another Analyst Waxes Bullish

Posted on: August 18, 2020, 11:30h. 

Last updated on: August 18, 2020, 12:28h.

In what’s been recently been a regular occurrence, Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) is soaring Tuesday with the help of bullish commentary from a sell-side analyst.

Penn National Boosted By Sell-Side Analyst
Executives from Penn National and Barstool Sports ring the opening bell at Nasdaq. Another analyst is bullish on the stock because of the Barstool relationship. (Image: Twitter)

Today, Truist analyst Barry Jonas is stepping up in support of the regional gaming operator. He is reiterating a “buy” rating, while boosting his price target on the stock to $62 — a tie for the highest on Wall Street — from $50. That new forecast implies an upside of almost 13 percent from current levels.

Jonas, one of the most widely followed gaming analysts, cites some familiar catalysts in his praise of Penn, including strength at regional casinos.B

We could see a quicker than expected recovery for regional gaming, with potential upside to PENN’s recently raised cost savings target,” he said in a note to clients.

Banking on regional gaming venues is a familiar refrain in the investment community these days, particularly because destination markets, namely Las Vegas, are struggling following reopenings. Most Nevada casinos restarted in early June, with more joining in the following weeks. But a subsequent uptick in coronavirus cases there and in drive-in states, such as Arizona and California, stymied the Las Vegas recovery effort.

Barstool Chatter

Recent analyst commentary on Penn National also includes plenty of talk of the company’s relationship with Barstool Sports, which is expected to pay dividends over the near-term, as the US sports schedule gets back to normal following the lengthy coronavirus shutdown.

The stock is already showing some resilience in the face of trying circumstances, jumping almost 18 percent over the past week, a period including the Big 10, PAC-12, and several smaller conferences postponing 2020 football seasons.

Analysts believe sportsbook operators were able to endure those announcements because betting on the resumed NBA and NHL campaigns, and the recently started MLB season, is brisk, confirming pent-up demand.

“Management continues to get incrementally positive on the strategic merits of their Barstool partnership, with PENN gaining access to Barstool’s database of 66M+ highly impressionable users, per management,” said Jonas.

The Barstool betting app is scheduled to launch in September, throwing Penn into direct competition with the likes of DraftKings, FanDuel, and William Hill, among others. Likewise, the near-term success of the Barstool app will be tethered to the NFL and the league’s ability to execute a 2020 campaign without interruptions caused by COVID-19.

Wild Ride

Penn is taking investors on a roller coaster ride this year. The stock traded just under $40 prior to the coronavirus shutdown. It would later plummet to $3.75 as the investment community fretted about the operator’s debt burden and ability to survive in a zero-revenue climate.

From that March low of $3.75, Penn stock is on a breathtaking pace, one that’s delivered gains of 1,379 percent, including more than 58 percent just over the past month.

The price target of $62 put forth by Truist’s Jonas is well above the Wall Street consensus of $46.67. Thirteen analysts cover the stock, with nine having bullish or very bullish ratings on the name.