Casino player Genting Malaysia Bhd and number forecast operators (NFOs), namely Berjaya Sports Toto Bhd (BToto) and Magnum Bhd were touted as recovery plays following the potential dispensation of Covid-19 vaccines.However, the latest two-week travel restriction starting tomorrow may see lower NFO sales and reduced visitors to Genting Resorts. PETALING JAYA: Just as the dice was turning in favour of gaming stocks, the latest movement control order (MCO), albeit less stringent as the one imposed on March 18 last year, would see a delay in companies’ earnings recovery. Casino player Genting Malaysia Bhd and number forecast operators (NFOs), namely Berjaya Sports Toto Bhd (BToto) and Magnum Bhd were touted as recovery plays following the potential dispensation of Covid-19 vaccines. However, the latest two-week travel restriction starting tomorrow may see lower NFO sales and reduced visitors to Genting Malaysia’s flagship integrated resort, Resorts World Genting (RWG). Maybank IB Research said it is cutting Genting Malaysia’s financial year 2021 earnings per share (EPS) by 58% following the MCO, which will be enforced in six states, including Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, which are RWG’s key markets. Individuals from these states will not be allowed to travel inter-state. “While most of RWG is located in Pahang, where a looser conditional MCO (CMCO) will be reimplemented, we gather that the great majority of day trippers – about 75% of total visitor arrivals – who visit RWG are from Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, ” the research firm said in a note yesterday. For FY22, Maybank IB is leaving its estimated EPS unchanged, but fears more downside risk as RWG may have to forego the Chinese New Year peak season. The opening of Genting Skyworlds, slated for the second half of this year, could be deferred again should the MCO be extended beyond the current two weeks. It noted that RWG’s daily visitor arrivals fell from the recent peak of about 50,000 to about 15,000 after most states in Peninsular Malaysia had gone into CMCO that barred inter-state travel on Nov 9 last year. “We cut FY21 estimated RWG visitor arrivals to 15 million from 18 million but maintain FY22’s estimated RWG visitor arrivals at 24 million, ” it said in its report where it maintains a hold call, but has trimmed the stock’s target price to RM2.60 (from RM2.64 previously). Meanwhile, UOB Kay Hian sees Genting Malaysia’s business normalising and earnings recovering to pre-pandemic levels in 2022. This is premised on an effective regional Covid-19 vaccination rollout, which in turn would allow the re-opening of country borders by end 2021. It pointed out that while gaming stocks have recovered from their respective lows in 2020, they remain below pre-pandemic peaks. “The share price weaknesses of casino stocks since the start of the year provide good buying opportunities, taking into account that the harsher two-week lockdown (starting tomorrow) to curb rampant Covid-19 infections would not be significantly extended.” UOB said it expects the share price consolidation period to be shallow and short-term in nature, as investors look forward to the Genting Group doling out generous dividends in its upcoming results announcements, slated for Feb 21 and the wide dispensation of vaccines and economic reopening in the second half of 2021. Where stocks are concerned, the research firm prefers Genting Malaysia to parent Genting Bhd as upside for the latter may be capped as investors assess gamers’ reception to the planned opening of Resorts World Las Vegas in the highly competitive Las Vegas market in Q3 2021. Yesterday, Genting Malaysia closed two sen higher at RM2.43, while its parent company Genting gained eight sen to RM4.13. However, BToto and Magnum ended the day in the red. BToto was down four sen to RM2.04, while Magnum shed two sen to RM2.18 respectively.
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