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EARNINGS PREVIEW: US Casinos Results To Rise From 2008 Lows

By Kathy Shwiff Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES TAKING THE PULSE: Casino companies are expecting improved fourth-quarter results compared with a year earlier, when most posted losses on big write-downs amid the depths of the recession. In recent months, several of the companies strengthened their balance sheets by selling shares to pay off debt. While the Las Vegas convention business is expected to remain weak and U.S. gambling revenue flat, strength in Macau, China's gambling enclave, likely will help Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) and Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS). COMPANIES TO WATCH: Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN) reports Feb. 4 Wall Street Expectations: Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters anticipate earnings of 19 cents a share on revenue of $578 million. A year earlier, Penn National reported a loss of $4.77 a share and revenue of $571 million. Key Issues: The operator of 19 casino and horse-racing facilities in 14 states and Ontario--but not in Las Vegas--recently pulled out of the bidding process for the stalled Fontainebleau casino-hotel project in Las Vegas. The company, which benefits from being in a variety of smaller markets, is planning casinos in Ohio and Kansas. Boyd Gaming Corp. (BYD) reports Feb. 26 Wall Street Expectations: Analysts anticipate earnings of 2 cents on revenue of $396 million, compared with a loss of $2.51 a share on revenue of $422.6 million. Excluding one-time items, year-ago earnings were 13 cents. Key Issues: One of the oldest Las Vegas gambling companies, Boyd attracts many locals, who are struggling with declining home values and job losses. The Borgata in Atlantic City, N.J., which Boyd jointly owns with MGM Mirage (MGM), also has seen lower gambling revenue recently and likely will face increased competition following the legalization of table games by Pennsylvania this month. Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) reports Feb. 24 Wall Street Expectations: Wynn is projected to report an 11-cent profit on revenue of $782 million, compared with a year-earlier loss of $1.49 on revenue of $614 million. Excluding one-time items, year-ago earnings were 7 cents a share. Key Issues: Wynn, which has a stronger balance sheet than most of its rivals, in November announced a special cash dividend of $4 a share and said it plans to make regular quarterly payouts starting in the first quarter. The company intends to open the $650 million Encore addition to its 600-room Macau property in the first half of this year. MGM Mirage (MGM) reports March 17 Wall Street Expectations: Analysts predict an 11-cent loss on revenue of $1.48 billion. A year earlier, the debt-laden casino giant reported a loss of $4.15 a share amid a $1.2 billion, or $4.25 a share, write-down and revenue of $1.62 billion. Key Issues: MGM Mirage added thousands of more rooms to the lagging Las Vegas market with its opening of the massive $8.5 billion CityCenter development in December. The company maintained a 95% average occupancy rate in the third quarter for its Las Vegas Strip properties only with deep discounting. Revenue per available room fell 23%. Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) reporting date to be announced Wall Street Expectations: Sands, the largest publicly traded U.S. casino company by market capitalization, is seen posting a 2-cent profit on revenue of $1.23 billion. A year earlier, its loss was 27 cents on net revenue of $1.09 billion. The year-ago loss included a charges totaling $37.6 million. Key Issues: The casino giant, best known for the Venetian resorts in Las Vegas and Macau, raised a total of $5 billion during the fall. Chairman Sheldon Adelson last month said group bookings in Las Vegas, a core part of Sands' business, are returning "in force" and he expects them to be "completely normal" by 2011. (The Thomson Reuters estimate and year-ago figures may not be comparable due to one-time items and other adjustments.) -By Kathy Shwiff, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2357; Kathy.Shwiff@dowjones.com

Stock News for Penn National (PENN)
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07/14/201110:46:03EARNINGS PREVIEW: US Casinos Find Big Money Still In Macau
04/14/201115:29:05EARNINGS PREVIEW: Large US Casinos Look For Demand, Macau Strength
01/31/201112:46:34EARNINGS PREVIEW: Large US Casinos Likely Did Well in 4th Q
10/08/201008:05:13Penn National Buys M Resort Debt For $230.5 Million
04/29/201013:54:13EARNINGS PREVIEW: Improved Results Seen At Large US Casinos

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