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Alaska Air Group, Inc. Message Board

squeezetracker 295 posts  |  Last Activity: 1 minute 30 seconds ago Member since: Apr 5, 2011
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  • Reply to

    Cotai strip last night

    by grftt Sep 20, 2014 12:20 AM
    squeezetracker squeezetracker 1 minute 30 seconds ago Flag

    We did not play BABA -- it is a great story, but chasing supercharged IPOs is not for us and we don't have anyone following it. We had a small YHOO trade on at $38 and added a smaller chunk at $40 when what looked like uneconomic hedges of BABA longs went on at the start of BABA trading Friday. We think it will bounce back to mid $40s as early as next week when the BABA options are listed.

    On yhoo, we don;t like the standalone story... Mayer has cashed out a few former associates from goog by acquiring their companies, but the only thing she's done adding value is to hold onto most of the BABA position (LOL). otp, Even if BABA settles in at around $80 near term, we think the sum of the YHOO parts, tax effected, is above $50. At $90 or more for BABA, $50 for yhoo is a slam dunk even with statutory tax on repatriated proceeds from selling the parts.

    The BABA position represents by far the major component of YHOO value and now Mayer will be pressured to do a MASSIVE buyback or sell the company (BABA would be a very tax-advantaged buyer)...

  • Interesting article as the big U.S. corps continue piling in funds despite the pol noise in macau

    "The U.S. Consul General, Clifford A. Hart, said yesterday here that his country is “fully committed with the counterparts in Macau to expand two-way trade and investment opportunities”.
    The U.S. Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau, Clifford Hart, said yesterday during a speech that the Consulate General is “fully committed with the counterparts in Macau to expand two-way trade and investment opportunities”.
    Mr. Hart spoke about his perspectives on the cooperation between U.S. and Macau at a luncheon hosted by AmCham Macau at Grand Hyatt Hotel yesterday afternoon. The CG claimed that assigning appropriate time and resources to the United States’ relationship with Macau has been his personal priority.
    “I am the U.S. Consul General to Macau every bit as much as I am the U.S. Consul General to Hong Kong,” Mr. Hart stated.
    In his opinion, the gaming industry had transformed the city’s economy to a prosperous one, in which investors from America had played a significant role.
    “Our joint achievements can be measured in the tremendous increase in U.S. investment over the past decade, which is estimated to exceed US$10 billion and ranks the United States second only to Hong Kong as a source of foreign direct investment into Macau,” he claimed.
    However, he said that whether Macau is capable of attracting more foreign investments will depend on its continuing success.
    Following the luncheon, Mr. Hart met with reporters and revealed that the U.S. had a very strong commitment to and a high level of cooperation with the Macau Government...."

    google title for full article

  • Reply to

    Cotai strip last night

    by grftt Sep 20, 2014 12:20 AM
    squeezetracker squeezetracker 23 hours ago Flag

    Thanks for the notes Dave... great to hear of the crowds in Cotai and comments on House of Dancing Water... the Bloomberg video (Macau: A New Direction) has a cool segment on HODW as well. As for Altira, it will be interesting to see how Ho's "repositioning" of Altira for the "large VIP tours" works out once operators decide it is time to come back full force... Perhaps it is just our view, but given that VIP play on Macau will still represent something on the order of $20B of gaming this year -- so more than the R.O.W. VIP combined -- despite the "low profile" effects of China's "corruption crackdown," and MPEL's leadership on direct credit (premium mass) conversion from VIP over the last couple of years, MPEL is likely going to be just fine on ebitda progress... again, particularly once the VIP crimping in Macau fades.

    We know MPEL's VIP at Altira was down roughly 1/3 last Q (YOY), and the comps will be tough into EOY since last year was so solid for Macau VIP...

    btw, Yesterday a reporter asked Jack Ma what implications China's "slowing growth" would have on Chinese consumers and growing middle class. Ma excitedly said that China's citizenry and growing middle class is in the early stages of empowerment, upward mobility and wealth creation (my summary of what he said) and that the future is bright for all of China... all of that is supportive of the idea that as with the rest of China, these are still very early days for Macau's growth.

    Thanks again for sharing your trip notes!

  • squeezetracker by squeezetracker 23 hours ago Flag

    Bloomberg's video released last week is a well done recap of what is happening in and around Macau. Worth the 23 minutes viewing time. goog the title above for the link.

    "Macau and gambling have gone hand-in-hand for more than half a century...but there's far more to the city than just the tables - there's an ambitious plan to create what’s been dubbed "The Orlando of China." That includes more leisure and entertainment venues, theme parks, tens of thousands more hotel rooms, and first-class convention facilities. On "Macau: A New Direction," we speak to the top business players and policymakers as Macau positions itself for the next decade and beyond."

  • Reply to

    COD Manila Opening Coming Right Up

    by squeezetracker Jun 27, 2014 8:10 AM
    squeezetracker squeezetracker Sep 19, 2014 4:50 PM Flag

    In case you missed it, Manila is apparently not going to be open for Golden Week. See my other thread on it, but the website update says the "Grand Opening" will now be during the 4Q.

    As Ho has said many times, they won't open anything until it is 100% ready from now on, but good to see the career opening page down to a small fraction of the openings early this summer ... less than 220 or so positions still sought, but something like 3k employees in training/ready to go at COD Manila now.

  • squeezetracker squeezetracker Sep 19, 2014 4:39 PM Flag

    bump for anyone who may have missed the company's manila update last week.

  • Reply to

    I am on Cotai strip Thursday September 18 2014...

    by grftt Sep 18, 2014 2:49 AM
    squeezetracker squeezetracker Sep 18, 2014 11:23 AM Flag

    Thanks for the great update Dave!

    Studio City site looks clean organized and coming along well -- at least 8 cranes on site, windows going in and close to capping near term. Excellent! WYNN's new resort behind COD coming along well too. Great to see the rail between the back of COD and Steve's "Palace" going in... both should be great for COD foot traffic.

    MGM's property and LVS' Parisan look to be stalled as to construction... glad Ho is brilliant at playing by the rules and with friends when it comes to plans and permit approvals/construction programs. LVS and MGM stalls look awful on site.

    OTP, Murren gave everyone a heads up that MGM's new development in Cotai was at "stall speed" while WYNN, MPEL and Galaxy properties are all cranking along... that "catalyst" must be Moron Stankey's idea of MGM being the most compelling to buy. LOL

    As an aside, the bloomberg article on macau is close to comedy... if it was written in May, before the big table games numbers for Vegas in May and june and then the BIG falloff in July, or if the author had done a little work to see how tiny the dollars are playing in Australia through the end of June as macau went into the 20-30% VIP fade mode, it would have been relevant. Good to see the stocks moving up hard into the teeth of all the analysts dropping their outlooks to dour, and all the weak sauce media doing their typical butch "reporting."

  • squeezetracker squeezetracker Sep 17, 2014 6:19 PM Flag

    Re "some went to Australia"... I was joking if not obvious... in four (4) years after opening they tripled revenue a WHOPPING $370m for the year ended June (incl the macau gift)??? BFD... MPEL did $5B last year, most of that at one property (COD) while taking tables out of the other (Altira).

    Australia is not quite ready to knock the lights out of macau... COD manila will likely do more revenue in the FIRST full year (2015).

    p.s. For those who missed the memo, after Vegas had 30%+ table GR growth yoy for May and june, it collapsed back to 7% in Vegas in july... and slots are running negative YOY as well in vegas -- so much for the heralded "Vegas resurgence", huh?

  • squeezetracker squeezetracker Sep 17, 2014 6:09 PM Flag

    Bloomberg piece I mentioned earlier (from a month ago)

    goog a sentence of these quotes to see the entire Bloomberg article too, but the gist is that Chinese players with family or other business interests there may come to play or vacation there as the golf courses are nice, some are near beaches, etc... but it is a "Distant Market" for the Chinese and other Asians as the article expounds.

    The most interesting part is about how VIP were enticed to go there (for 2Q anyway) -- seems the author doesn't understand the business were understood by the author it seems -- the net hold on baccarat was 1.47%, revealing they must be paying whopping commissions to the tour operators bringing VIP there. That is pretty enticing, huh? And how about that paragraph on "free rooms"?

    "Free Rooms

    Revenue at Echo’s international VIP rebate business, which lures overseas gamblers prepared to bet large sums with the promise of free hotel rooms, food, drink and transport, more than tripled in the four years through June to A$397 million ($370 million), the company said Aug. 13."

    Imagine that, they paid about double the tour operator commissions and got people to fly tours there while the April/May/June crackdown took full brunt on Macau VIP play? So some went to Vegas, and some went went to Aussieland.

    As for Crown's stock going up, the big delta for them is MPEL dividends! See this:

    "Crown, Australia’s largest casino company, rose the most in almost a year in Sydney trading on Aug. 14 after the company posted a 53 percent jump in second-half VIP revenue [from little to some]. The stock climbed 1.8 percent... while Echo gained 0.6 percent to A$3.20. [Remember, Packer's Crown has al;ready failed twice in Vegas and is now on try #3.]

    “The challenge remains to get the players to Australia,” chief executive Rowen Craigie said on an investor call.

    That is an understatement!

  • squeezetracker squeezetracker Sep 17, 2014 4:19 PM Flag

    EVEN IF macau VIP ends up down 25% YOY for 2014, it will still be some $20B or so of GGR for Macau... but that level is a butch haircut for MGM and WYNN, hurting MPEL and LVS' programs far less.

    MPEL's VIP will likely be down more than that 25% in Macau as per their business plan... and one day soon the stock will begin discounting this more intelligently than seen on the screen these days.

  • As noted on matrix's thread about Manila opening soon, we don;t think Australia poses much if any of a sustained threat to either Macau or Manila prospects. official data on GGR in Australia is sketchy and premised on estimates, which make sense given the new integrated resorts there are new and not much of a cluster to work together with...

    The Bloomberg article I mentioned is one of a few noting the aussie market is a yawn. Here is another one from last Fall from IBT, a retail mag -- see last parag

    "Global Gambling: Macau Booms, Singapore Slows, Japan In Anticipation"

    The Chinese gambling haven of Macau is booming as VIPs spend cash more heavily and rapidly, while Singaporean gamblers slow down and Japanese politicians back groundbreaking casinos... In Macau, record revenues in August and March earlier this year could help the city achieve revenue growth of 17 percent for 2013, or $44 billion for the year overall. Fresh infrastructure, like a new intercity railway completed in December 2012, or the new Chimelong casino due in late 2013, will attract more visitors from China, who represent the vast majority of Macau’s gamblers.

    Macau’s success this year and revenue growth forecast of 17 percent compares favorably to Las Vegas’ projected revenue growth of 2 percent for this year as well as 2014, according to Citi analysts.

    Although big spenders... drove the revenue gains, more ordinary gamblers could also boost margins for Macau casino operators. “There could be further upside to our revised [mass] estimates if mass GGR beats our estimates..."

    Still... casinos in Japan are several years away from breaking ground, with openings likely to happen around 2020.

    [KEY PART]
    The report also covers gambling markets in Australia, the United States, the Philippines, and Cambodia. Revenue growth prospects for Australian and U.S. casinos remain very sluggish.

  • squeezetracker squeezetracker Sep 17, 2014 1:14 PM Flag

    Bain discussed this in his roundtable notes from last week and hat's off to him... it will be a great result if Bain is correct that Xi may go to Macau later this year to allay concerns that Macau has anything to do with the problem... to date, clearly the campaign has next to nothing to do with Macau governance.

    fwiw, "The Economist" has also published several magazine and online stories related to Xi's campaign to rout out corruption in china's govt and contracting work.

    at least Shuli and Detar and all the other pseudo journalists have stopped talking about UnionPay card fraud, smoking bans, and the other 13 noise elements... and great to see the stocks up on the additional towel tossing of analysts this week.

  • If you missed the article last week, goog the title and see excerpts below. As we've long noted here, the graft is not about Macau gaming, but those involved in any kind of fraud are being prosecuted and obviously laying low now. So the chilling effect on China's innocent wealthy has crimped Macau GGR, but for how much longer?

    "...a growing list of Chinese officials who have committed suicide in recent months, a trend that some researchers suspect may be linked to an anticorruption campaign begun last year by [Xi] the toughest in decades. About 30 officials have killed themselves so far this year, sometimes as investigators closed in, according to anticorruption researchers and local news reports.

    Given China’s widespread corruption, many officials may have similar concerns. Mr. Xi has said he will pursue his campaign against “tigers and flies,” or high- and low-level corrupt officials, “to the end.”

    About 32 senior officials a week were investigated or punished across China in the first half of this year, Wang Xiaoling, the head of the anticorruption agency in the southern city of Guangzhou, said in August, according to a report in the Yangcheng Evening News. The total may be in the thousands, and the campaign shows no signs of slowing.

    Punishment often means long prison terms and, perhaps worse, public shame in a culture where officials have traditionally enjoyed exalted status and where loss of face is a potentially unbearable fate.

    ...The attitude is still leniency to those who confess, severity to those who resist” ... Torture is not uncommon, former officials and rights activists say, though most suspects confess before that occurs. ...Fear of punishment and disgrace may be only part of the reason for the high rate. Under Chinese criminal law, the death of a suspect ends the legal investigation... in some cases officials are killing themselves to protect their wives, children and parents, hoping their families will survive and not lose their wealth."

  • Reply to

    Sterne Agee note

    by drjackcar Sep 17, 2014 9:28 AM
    squeezetracker squeezetracker Sep 17, 2014 12:21 PM Flag

    Great post as usual...

    Good to see the stock go green despite latest dip S Moron Stankey "research" and dopey Barron’s and IBD articles to go with it.

    We think Bain has done a fabulous job capturing the gist of what is happening in china/macau... and love the "witch hunt" metaphor (didn;t read the piece until after writing about the "phantom witch hunt as regards macau" this morning...

    Fun to point out that while we pared our PT back to $40 in July, Bain then dropped from $57 to 54, and only now has he, finally, "thrown in the towel." LOL To be clear, my comment is ironically intended -- we don't think of Bain's just lowered PT of $50 as throwing in the towel. LOL His forward one year "look back" (and wish one had bought a bunch more) comments are terrific.

  • Reply to

    RE: squeeze trader

    by johnjazz200 Sep 17, 2014 11:56 AM
    squeezetracker squeezetracker Sep 17, 2014 12:15 PM Flag

    drjack, grftt, matrix (when he's not upset), toast, crnjms, bentley and several other longtimers here often share quality perspective... Then we have the multialias tarts. When you put the putzes on ignore, you see it renders a board with about 4 entries per page. Still mystifying to see their bosses (pissant Asian hedge funds?) think it is worth maying idiots to post their recurrent comments with blazing ignorance and stupidity all day long. LOL

    As for what else we share in this quasi public forum? Click on my alias to see our involvement is limited but of late we've gotten back to long the airlines (round 25 or so since 2009), PCLN TRIP EXPE SBUX and a host of others. We recently covered ZQK (short round 5 or so at $8) at current levels (we think that will go to bkr/debt restructuring as a dead company) and blew out TPX (at $60 up from $38 last year on round trip 10 or so t3yrs), and we are close to taking off AAPL we have owned since the big reload at $389. Hard to sell it out just now as we are ATMing it by writing call premium for now. As many fret over the "overvalued market", we think there are many great stocks to get long at current levels... MPEL is now our largest position (core at $17 and a big trade slug at just below $30). We've also traded many sleeves of MPEL since the first run up to $16 as you likely recall... it has been a great story and we love the risk reward right here just as Bain wrote last night.

  • Reply to

    need Manila to open up

    by matrixtrade123 Sep 17, 2014 8:19 AM
    squeezetracker squeezetracker Sep 17, 2014 12:00 PM Flag

    On that aussie gaming part, not sure who "they" are other than Shuli Renn's article. We have seen no objective confirmation of any meaningful gaming, VIP or otherwise in Australia or malaysia for that matter (see recent Bloomberg story on that "new venue" no one wants to fly to) and, even if there is some in the couple of new "Integrated Resorts" the developers fancy they have way down there, we doubt it will last for more than a first visit. Good for the property owners that they have some nice beaches, spas and swimming pools... and GFL to Packer and Crown in Vegas and over the next handful of years as he tries to replicate MPEL's (Ho's) success with new venues for Crown in australia... at least he'll have the MPEL dividends to fund his working capital needs given that Crown alone generates weak cash flow relative to capital. LOL

  • Reply to

    need Manila to open up

    by matrixtrade123 Sep 17, 2014 8:19 AM
    squeezetracker squeezetracker Sep 17, 2014 11:16 AM Flag

    As an aside, the last time I saw the Manila job listings on the MPEL website they had more than 600 positions... as of yesterday that was down to about 220 (without checking it again).
    So clearly they have made strides toward getting things ready to launch...

    On VIP in Manila, I also agree with you that VIP will be a huge part of the rollout with players from korea and japan figuring prominently... and, based on the incentive flexibility/differentials they can and will offer tour operators, along with the Chinese VIP apparently still maintaining a "low profile" in Macau until the pol "corruption" noise (phantom witch hunt as regards Macau) ends. As also noted earlier, Chinese whales are also likely favorable on the idea of avoiding an additional 10 hour flight EACH WAY to get to Vegas until China pols settle down... a reality seen in the HUGE drop in Vegas' table play in July... so much for the "Vegas recovery" all this brilliant analyst group was talking about after seeing the may and June table numbers temporarily above 30% YOY as Steve and Murren flew them in to avoid Macau for an as yet undetermined period of time.

  • Reply to

    need Manila to open up

    by matrixtrade123 Sep 17, 2014 8:19 AM
    squeezetracker squeezetracker Sep 17, 2014 9:02 AM Flag


    As you know, from 2012 through January 2014, the analysts were consistently too conservative estimating anything involving gaming revenues, earnings and ebitda from the macau-centric companies and scurried around after each Q to raise their estimates. Since then, none of the 4 US companies' CEOs saw the big drop in VIP play coming, and now, "suddenly", the group think has gone from all will be well later in 2014 and in 2015 and longer to where, Henny Penny and all of her friends are afraid the sky really is falling now and Macau VIP will remain hammered as far as they can see.

    That is almost the exactly the sentiment this "illustrious" group had back in mid summer 2013...right before the group and especially MPEL ripped the lungs out of the naysayers. Because it is instructive, I'll repeat that valuation can and one day will turn on a dime as it did back in July 2013 and again in June of this year when this stock jumped 20% from $31 to $37 in less than 10 days.

    You noted last March or so that it would be good if the analysts and street thought of macau GGR growth as more of a 10% growth market and that such would be good for the stocks, even that now seems optimistic though, and it will be interesting to see what the CEOs have to say next month as they release the Sep Q and forward look updates. Ho's last comment was for more like mass growth rate of about half the ytd mid 30%s growth for macau overall from mid 2014 forward (incl 8 new properties under constr in macau coming on line), and that VIP overall would likely remain subdued for the near term, but that looking ahead to 2015, he anticipates that Macau will see a return to the former 15% cagr or so overall.

    Meanwhile, hopefully the overarching din on vip is gonging with the China pols and they are thinking through the tax rev/employment aspects.

    Re manila, Monday they said development was on final and they would open 4Q and see website update now, but no grand opening date set yet.

  • Reply to

    At HK airport now will be in Macau soon

    by grftt Sep 16, 2014 1:15 PM
    squeezetracker squeezetracker Sep 17, 2014 8:27 AM Flag

    great comments Dave... look forward to any trip notes you might have

    re Altira, VIP was down $100m yoy last Q... Ho talked about "repositioning" to cater to their large/impact VIP operators it so hopefully they make some progress on that aspect quickly. As you know, MPEL essentially let this business go ytd, seeing their VIP win drop at about twice the decay of Macau overall as they continue to focus on top level mass. Perhaps this Q will see them restore a bit of Altira's place in historical share of macau VIP.

  • Reply to

    At HK airport now will be in Macau soon

    by grftt Sep 16, 2014 1:15 PM
    squeezetracker squeezetracker Sep 17, 2014 8:15 AM Flag

    I did not suggest that the "corruption crackdown" was to limit how "rich businessmen spend their [recreational] money." in fact, I emphasized that there is no "corruption" of substance flagged in Macau [other posts have amply discussed the govt clamp down on the 14 UnionPay card swipe operators on unauthorized machines operated out of car trunks after Shuli wrote at several articles hyping that UnionPay fraud was mutli-billions in macau -- LOL].

    What I did frame was that the impact of the pol posturing on "corruption" is to cause China's elite wealthy to maintain a low profile with respect to gaming in Macau.

    Your comments on the $20k/100k are interesting though... if you have any fact based premise for them, you should call Shuli Ren and Jim Detar (who parrots Shuli's every article half a day later LOL) with those objectively sourced inputs so she can write her first worthwhile piece on Macau.

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