JP Morgan Cuts Rating on Las Vegas Sands to Neutral

Says the hotel and gaming company faces a tougher environment for earnings, while positive price triggers are already reflected in the stock valuation

JP Morgan downgraded the hotel and gaming company Las Vegas Sands (LVS ) to neutral from outperform, citing factors such as earnings trends and pricing power.

Analyst Harry Curtis sees limited or negative pricing power in Las Vegas through the fourth quarter. He says that recent insider sales may signal that in the near term, the best stock price has already passed. Meanwhile the positive catalysts for price improvements, including slots in Pennsylvania and a mall space sale on the Cotai strip for upwards of $5.5 billion, are already reasonably reflected in the stock's current valuation. Curtis keeps his 28 cents fourth quarter earnings per share estimate, but thinks Las Vegas Sands stock could become attractive again in the second half of 2006.

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