Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report released on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Although shares of Las Vegas Sands have outperformed the industry over the past year, it has been declining. High debt and competition are primary causes of concern. Estimates for current and next year have been stable over the past 30 days. Moreover fluctuation is Macau gaming revenue have been keeping the company under pressure. However, planned investment in new capital projects in Macao and higher revenues from The Parisian Macao are likely to drive growth. Further, EBITDA margins have been improving consistently due to focus on the mass and non-gaming segments, which carry higher margins. Furthermore, Las Vegas Sands remains focused on a convention-based Integrated Resort business model.”

A number of other equities research analysts have also issued reports on the company. HSBC upgraded Las Vegas Sands from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $69.00 price target for the company in a research note on Monday, October 15th. ValuEngine lowered Las Vegas Sands from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 12th. Goldman Sachs Group lowered Las Vegas Sands from a conviction-buy rating to a buy rating in a research report on Friday, October 19th. Morgan Stanley restated a buy rating on shares of Las Vegas Sands in a research report on Monday, December 3rd. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein assumed coverage on Las Vegas Sands in a research report on Thursday, November 15th. They set an outperform rating and a $81.45 price objective for the company. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company. Las Vegas Sands presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $74.03.

Shares of NYSE:LVS traded up $0.02 during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $56.75. The company had a trading volume of 1,464,849 shares, compared to its average volume of 4,019,582. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.52, a current ratio of 1.93 and a quick ratio of 1.92. The firm has a market capitalization of $44.60 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.67 and a beta of 1.39. Las Vegas Sands has a 12-month low of $47.39 and a 12-month high of $81.45.

Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 24th. The casino operator reported $0.77 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.81 by ($0.04). The company had revenue of $3.37 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.41 billion. Las Vegas Sands had a return on equity of 34.18% and a net margin of 27.71%. On average, equities research analysts expect that Las Vegas Sands will post 3.4 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, December 27th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, December 18th were paid a $0.75 dividend. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 5.29%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, December 17th. Las Vegas Sands’s payout ratio is currently 98.68%.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC bought a new stake in Las Vegas Sands in the second quarter worth about $135,000. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC lifted its stake in Las Vegas Sands by 195.1% in the third quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC now owns 2,066 shares of the casino operator’s stock worth $122,000 after purchasing an additional 1,366 shares during the last quarter. Livingston Group Asset Management CO operating as Southport Capital Management bought a new stake in Las Vegas Sands in the third quarter worth about $126,000. Legacy Financial Advisors Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Las Vegas Sands during the third quarter worth approximately $156,000. Finally, Zacks Investment Management purchased a new position in shares of Las Vegas Sands during the second quarter worth approximately $202,000. 36.99% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Las Vegas Sands

Las Vegas Sands Corp., together with its subsidiaries, develops, owns, and operates integrated resorts in Asia and the United States. It owns and operates The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel, the Sands Cotai Central, The Parisian Macao, The Plaza Macao and Four Seasons Hotel Macao, Cotai Strip, and the Sands Macao in Macao, the People's Republic of China; and iconic Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

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