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Why Wynn Resorts Shares Surged 24.4% in January

Travis Hoium, The Motley Fool

What happened 

Shares of Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ: WYNN) jumped a whopping 24.4% in January, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, as news out of Macau continued to improve. Not only was gaming revenue up for the whole region, Wynn reported solid fourth-quarter results, and construction of its new Encore Boston Harbor complex is nearing completion.

So what 

The first positive news for the company last month came when Macau reported that its overall gaming revenue had jumped 16.6% in December to $3.3 billion. That well exceeded the 11% increase that analysts predicted. For 2018, gaming revenue was up 14% to $37.5 billion. 

Wynn Palace in Macau.

Image source: Wynn Resorts.

Late in the month, Wynn Resorts reported its own fourth-quarter results, which were pretty mixed. Wynn Palace in the newer Cotai region of Macau grew revenue by 12.8% to $740.6 million on the back of an increase in mass-market play. But at Wynn Macau, in the older section of the peninsula -- where resorts are more focused on high rollers -- revenue fell 5.2% to $553.4 million as the super-wealthy took their baccarat play elsewhere. 

The operating results weren't all that surprising, and reflected the shift of gaming to Macau's newer Cotai Strip casinos. The fact that Wynn Palace was taking market share appeared to be what was most pleasing to investors. 

Now what 

Gaming revenue in Macau is holding up well despite an uncertain economic environment in China, and that's helped casino stocks like Wynn Resorts. Looking ahead, the company will open Encore Boston Harbor sometime around mid-year, which will expand its geographic footprint. If the new casino becomes a meaningful contributor to cash flow, this stock will have upside in a strong economic environment. 

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Travis Hoium owns shares of Wynn Resorts. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.