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LAS VEGAS-The Applied Analysis Gaming Index soared to an all-time high in November as speculation of privatization within the industry and expectations for operators heavily invested in the Macau, China market drove up stock prices. The index of nine publicly held casino-related companies with significant operations in Nevada jumped 10.8%, or 41.4 points, to 422.9.

Launched in 1998 with a value of 100, the Index crested once in May at 379.3 and declined in June, July and August, bottoming out at 337 before recovering to 349.1 in September. October saw the index gain 9.3%, or 32.4 points, to 381.5. November’s 44.1-point gain is the largest one-month increase in the history of the index.

Applied Analysis is a research and consulting firm based in Las Vegas. The Index tracks the daily average stock price of the companies, which include Harrah’s Entertainment, MGM Mirage, Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, Boyd Gaming, Station Casinos, Bally Technologies, International Gaming Technologies and WMS Industries.

Las Vegas Sands has a strong influence on the Index because it is weighted based on market cap. The company’s 110% share price growth on a year-over-year basis continues to pull the index north. Applied Analysis principals Brian Gordon and Jeremy Aguero stated in their monthly report on the Index that Las Vegas Sands COO Weidner said the company may raise $6 to $12 billion from the sale of retail space, along with another $1 to $4 million in condo sales, in the China market.

“Total proceeds, should they materialize, could outpace the amount of investment planned in the region,” states the report. “The stock has responded positively.”

The second largest influence on the Index this quarter was Wynn Resorts, which in November announced a stock dividend that distributed much of the $900-million cash infusion from a subconcession sale in the China market. It also announced an expansion of operations there, driving further interest in the stock.

As for privatization, Harrah’s is the only one with an actual offer on the table from a private equity firm but there also has been speculation regarding Boyd Gaming and Station Casinos. MGM Mirage shares closed the month up about 13% after Kirk Kerkorian unloaded his stake in GM and concurrently launched an effort to increase his stake in MGM to more than 60% at a cost of $85 million.

During the quarter, MGM Mirage, Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts all produced solid quarterly results and each of their daily average share prices gained between 13% and 18% during the quarter. Station Casinos, the locals-oriented gaming operator, missed expectations but still saw its share price end the month more than 8% ahead of October. The only company in the index not to see an increase in its share price during the quarter was Boyd Gaming.

When computed on a similar basis, the Gaming Index’s 10.8% growth outpaced the 1.9% growth of the S&P 500. Compared to the prior year, the gaming sector was up 44.4% versus the 12.2% gain in the broader market.

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