Friday, June 27, 2008 | 3:07 p.m.
Las Vegas casino stocks hit new lows today on negative analyst reports citing the compounding effect of higher fuel costs, slipping consumer confidence, cutbacks on flights to Las Vegas and slower growth prospects at their casinos in Macau, China.
Wynn Resorts' stock is the lowest since November 2006 and Las Vegas Sands reached a low not seen since February 2006.
MGM Mirage shares fell another 6 percent today, hitting a new three-year low. And shares of Boyd Gaming, which have plummeted by more than 70 percent over the past year, are back to the price they traded in early 2003.
There's little doubt that short-term investors are accelerating declines in these stocks.
Longer-term investors have criticized the short-selling as an overreaction to any hint of bad news, pointing to earnings that aren't as bad as expected and a hoped-for rebound in tourism once new resorts open for business.
That still leaves plenty of time, critics say, for profit margins to deteriorate further.
Both MGM Mirage and Wynn have already bought back millions of shares when they were trading at much higher prices – a vote of confidence that hasn't lifted their stocks much.
Perhaps that job will fall to bargain hunters, who may still be wary of jumping in just yet.
How much longer the long-term investors will wait for some positive indicators to emerge while they take a bath on these stocks is an open question.