Fed fears, oil topple markets

Jun 6, 2006 6:00 AM

Declining market conditions hit the shares of major companies over the past week with a double whammy: skyrocketing oil prices and a potentially slowing economy due to interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.

Among the hardest hit have been Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET), whose failure to gain a foothold in Macau and more recently Singapore, and Boyd Gaming (BYD, whose shares have suffered since the company announced the multi-billion dollar development on the site of Stardust Hotel/Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

At the close of trading on Monday, Harrah’s had dropped to $75.25 while Boyd was listed at $42.98.

Almost unaffected by the recent gaming downturn was Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS), whose selection as the chosen developer for the first Singapore project, shocked investors. Money poured into the company’s stock and boosted the share price to $71.50, topping its Macau competitor, Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN). The price of a share of LVS at the close on Monday was $69.17 while WYNN dropped to $69.11.

Over the weekend, the Associated Press business writer, Ryan Nakashima, wrote how Harrah’s was reluctant five years ago to enter the bidding for a gambling license in Macau and is now facing the prospect of being shut out of the Asian gambling market. Meanwhile, Las Vegas Sands with an operating Macau casino; another $1.8 billion property named The Venetian Macao opening next year, and the license for a $3.5 billion development in Singapore, now boasts nearly double the market capitalization of Harrah’s, somewhere around $25 billion.

As for Harrah’s, the company is still in the running for the second Singapore license. In the meantime, the company plans to expand some of its successful U.S. properties while looking to Europe for further growth.