Penn National Hits The Big Time On Influential S&P 500 Index, Along With Caesars

Posted By Kevin Shelly on March 15, 2021 - Last Updated on April 1, 2021

Make way for the “King of the S&P”: Dave Portnoy.

To the sounds of the Bangles’ “Manic Monday,” Portnoy, aka Davey Day Trader or @stoolpresidente began the stock trading week Monday touting Penn National Gaming‘s pending listing on Standard and Poor’s 500 (S&P 500).

Adding $PENN is a big deal

As he wrote on his Facebook page:

$PENN is being added to the S&P 500. I’m being told that’s a big deal? #DDTG***
**I’m not a finanical advisors. I own a town of PENN stock.

Indeed, it is a big deal, despite his spelling errors.

The stock briefly traded above $141 a share early Monday morning before settling in at around $135. A share was about $130 much of last Friday before the index adjustment was announced after 7 p.m. The stock had traded below $4 a share last March as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.

$CZR is joining $PENN on the index

Joining Penn on the “consumer discretionary” sector of the S&P before trading opens for the day on March 22 is another gaming giant, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. $CZR. That stock also had a small lift at the Monday opening, settling in at above $101 a share.

Inclusion on the index is indeed a big deal, and the market took particular notice of Penn’s selection.

The S&P measures the performance of the 500 largest companies listed on stock exchanges in the United States. The companies on the list usually influence index funds. $PENN and $CZR are now on the less influential Mid-Cap index of the S&P.

Penn owns a 36% share of Barstool Sports, and Penn has staked much of its future growth on rolling out the Barstool brand as an online sports betting app with Barstool Sportsbooks also in its retail casino properties. So far, Penn has not officially commented on the change.

Portnoy also launched a trading page on FB

Wasting no time Monday morning, Portnoy then created a new page on Facebook for his stock followers, DDTG Fan Page.

Portnoy’s new FB site stood at about 400 members when I joined first this morning and was near 4,000 members an hour later. Many of the members described themselves as new to stocks, and many talked up $PENN stock.

Portnoy had tweeted about the coming change on a video Sunday which featured him subbing for the Richard Gere role escorting Julia Roberts in the movie Pretty Woman, with stock guru Warren Buffet looking on approvingly.

Penn stock is up an astonishing 750% in the past year, buoyed by Barstool and the continuing rollout of legalized sports gambling in new jurisdictions. The PA-based company initially launched in the Keystone State but has added Michigan and Illinois.

Caesars’ shares have gained 550% in the past 12 months after also getting whacked by the pandemic. A plan to buy William Hill has helped.

AGA sees room to grow sports betting

PA gambling stocks continue to make gains as the market continues to grow.

The American Gaming Association, AGA, recently forecasted more than 47 million Americans would place bets on the 2021 March Madness tournament.

The AGA believes bracket betting will decline. But sports bets placed online or at brick-and-mortar sportsbooks are expected to more than double. In PA, it will be the first time bettors can wager on the NCAA tournament online.

The AGA pointed out that since the 2019 tournament, 65.4 million more Americans can bet safely in legal markets in 13 new jurisdictions. And action is pending in more than a dozen additional jurisdictions.

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

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Kevin Shelly

Kevin C. Shelly is an award-winning career journalist who has spent most of his career in South Jersey. He's the former assistant city editor of The Press of Atlantic City, where he covered the casino industry and Atlantic City government as a reporter. He was also an investigative, narrative enterprise, and features reporter for Gannett’s Courier-Post.

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