Casino Stocks Cave on Macau Concerns

Wynn Resorts, Limited (WYNN), Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS), and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd (ADR) (MPEL) are among the casino stocks getting devastated

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jan 7, 2016 at 3:01 PM

Overall, it's been a brutal day for stocks -- with a few notable exceptions. One group getting particularly punished is casino stocks, as traders fear that slowing growth in China could put additional pressure on already lackluster gambling revenues in Macau. Three gaming stocks feeling the pain this afternoon are Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN), Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS), and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd (ADR) (NASDAQ:MPEL).

WYNN is down over 9% at $60.36, and has already surrendered close to 13% of its value in 2016. At one point earlier, the stock was the worst percentage decliner on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) -- though it's since been overtaken by long-term laggard Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE:FCX)

Option traders expect a reversal from Wynn Resorts, Limited, based on data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). Specifically, the stock's 50-day call/put volume ratio of 1.67 outstrips 94% of comparable readings from the past year, suggesting a healthier-than-usual appetite for bullish bets over bearish.

LVS is only slightly better off than its sector peer, down 8% at $39.24. On a year-over-year basis, the shares have given back 30% of their value, but short-term option speculators are extremely call-focused right now. Specifically, Las Vegas Sands Corp.'s Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) stands at 0.62. Not only does this indicate calls outweigh puts among options expiring in the next three months, the ratio registers in the low 2nd annual percentile. In other words, it looks like short-term traders have fairly upbeat expectations.

Underscoring this bullish bias is LVS's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 6.72, which ranks in the 97th percentile of its 52-week range. A capitulation among these upbeat holdouts could lead to headwinds.

Finally, MPEL is off 8.9% at $14.54, sinking under the weight of its 10- and 20-week moving averages. In fact, today marks the stock's biggest intraday drop since early November. If option traders have their way, these losses will keep mounting. Specifically, Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd sports a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.75, coming in above 92% of comparable readings from the prior year.

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