Looking for the weird, wild, and downright odd market news? Here you go - I've the 'strange-stuff' skinny on Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS), Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN), NuVasive, Inc. (NASDAQ:NUVA), Vringo, Inc. (AMEX:VRNG), and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG). Some of it may actually even matter.
First up, NuVasive, Inc. Does everybody remember that TV commercial for one of the brokerage firms (I think it was Schwab) where everyone of the brokers in a big boiler room was telling their client (on the phone) to sell the same stock, while one guy who forget his marching orders from the morning meeting and was telling his customer to buy it? Every other broker in the room halted their conversation and simply stared as the guy who got it wrong. Yeah, well, what's going on with NUVA this morning reminds me of that tongue-in-cheek commercial.
How so? Following a not-entirely-devastating announcement from the company last night that Q3's numbers would be rolling in about 5% less than first projected, NuVasive shares are off by 30% in pre-market trading. Since then, all this morning, the company's been downgraded by six different research/analysis firms... just in the nick of time to do investors no good whatsoever. There's one firm, however, that is seeing things differently. Piper Jaffray is saying NUVA is a buy at under $15 (which is may well hit today). Kudos to Piper for (1) not simply following the crowd, and (2) having enough guts to say the market's over-reacting here.
Item #2 on the 'hmmm' list - looks like Google is one step closer to a settlement with Vringo.
If you're reading this, then you already know what's going on, so I'm not going to rehash it. I'll just say Vringo is suing Google for patent infringement, saying the search engine giant's popular search algorithm is actually owned (and patent-protected) by Vringo.
Anyway, more important today, the judge in the trial just dismisses Google's motion for summary judgment, though he's also requiring both parties to meet to discuss a settlement on the 9th. That's what sent VRNG shares soaring 39% yesterday.
If you're a VRNG shareholder, don't get giddy just yet. Seeking a summary judgment is not a tacit admission of guilt - it's simply a way to skip a jury trial (which is risky) and let the judge be the jury. Now it's going to a jury trial in late October, or it's going to be settled. Neither scenario is exactly a 'win' for Google, since juries may or may not make the right interpretation (e.g. The jury in the Samsung/Apple patent trial essentially said Apple owns sole rights to make smartphones with flat, rectangular screens.). In front of a jury of normal people, most experts say Vringo can make the better case.
Prior to today I was giving Vringo 50/50 odds on a settlement or a trial victory. Now I'm giving VRNG 65/35 odds of beating Google, one way or another. I do think Google DOES want to go to a trial at this point, to wear Vringo down during the appeals process, and to send a message to any other would-be litigators.
Last but not least, as I was viewing the morning news and doing a little digging on Macau's gambling scene and how it pertains to Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts, Limited, I stumbled across an interesting (and annoying) picture while browsing Yahoo! Finance (the web's best aggregator and organizer of market news). It's the one below. See if you see anything odd/stupid before you read any further.
So.... was Macau's revenue up or down last month? According to the headlines, it was both. Is there any wonder investors are confused much of the time?
In all fairness, all the headlines are correct in their own way. Revenue growth 'slowed' in the sense that it only grew by 12%, versus expectations of 19% growth. On the flipside, when the headline "Macau gambling revenue declined in September, Reuters reports" is followed by the lead-in "Gambling revenue in Macau increased a weaker-than-expected 12.3% in September to $2.99B, according to the Macau government, the second weakest revenue figure this year, reports Reuters.", it becomes clear to me someone at Reuters needs to rethink the definition of 'declined'. Nothing declined.
Anyway, something more pertinent (potentially) to owners of Wynn Resorts Limited and Las Vegas Sands Corp... Macau may have closed its doors to foreign casino operators. That's the word from Caesars Entertainment Corp. (NASDAQ:CZR) CEO Gary Loveman anyway, who noted recently that China is starting to be less accommodating to U.S. casinos looking for rights (technically, a concession) from China's government to open a casino there, as the nation state is starting to favor its own casino operators looking to build. If he's right, that could be big headaches for the likes of LVS and WYNN, both of which have seen domestic growth stagnate. Macau was the future, and while China isn't exactly knocking their buildings down there, there may not be ay new ones going up either. And, one has to wonder if locking new U.S. casino operators out is a microcosm of a bigger, anti-U.S.-operator mood in China's gambling scene.