Las Vegas mass shooting

MGM China shares little changed, while other Macau casino stocks advance on ‘golden week’ optimism

Despite the retreat in MGM China, analysts expect the horrific Las Vegas shooting to have limited impact on Macau casinos

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 October, 2017, 10:25am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 October, 2017, 10:36pm

Shares in casino giant MGM China struggled to remain in positive territory on Wednesday in Hong Kong, as investor sentiment was affected by the deadliest shooting massacre in modern US history at a Las Vegas hotel, which is owned by the company’s parent, MGM Resorts International.

Other casino shares advanced in Hong Kong, as traders expected China’s so called ‘golden week’ holiday to bring more visitors to the gambling hub.

The mass shooting left at least 59 people dead, and more than 500 wounded on Sunday night, next to the company’s Mandalay Bay hotel.

The gunman, Stephen Paddock, fired from his 32nd-floor luxury suite of the hotel into an audience attending an open-air music festival, around four hundred metres away.

MGM China, the China operation of MGM, bucked the bullish market trend on Tuesday and tumbled 1.9 per cent as the Hong Kong stock market reopened after returning from a three-day holiday weekend.

Its price swung between gains and losses on Wednesday, before closing the day slightly higher at HK$18.42, up 0.3 per cent.

Its parent MGM Resorts International sank 5.6 per cent on Monday in New York trading, but rose slightly on Tuesday, up 0.3 per cent.

“The news was a shock [to investors],” said Louis Tse Ming-kwong, managing director of VC Asset Management, suggesting the events had prompted the stock sell off.

“But I don’t think there will be any real impact on MGM China, as the company operates in Macau. Geographically it’s a different territory.”

Meanwhile, other Macau casino operators mostly advanced. Wynn Macau added 0.7 per cent to HK$21.1. Galaxy Entertainment rose 1.2 per cent to HK$56.45. Melco International Development gained 0.7 per cent to HK$22.8. SJM Holdings closed flat at HK$7.18.

The Macau gambling industry has been recovering since the middle of last year, said Kingston Lin King-ham, a director at AMTD securities brokerage, as Beijing loosened restrictions on illicit money flows from mainland China through the casino hub – the only place in China where gambling is legal.

Macau’s gross gambling revenue rose 16 per cent year on year in September, according to recent data from its Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.

“The revenue growth is steady, and investors are likely to continue pushing up stock prices,” said Stanley Chan, director of research at Emperor Securities.

Traders also expected Macau to post strong revenue growth during the ‘golden week’ – an eight-day holiday that runs October 1-8, during which encompasses National Day and the Mid Autumn Festival fall, said Lin.