Melco Crown Shares Plunged: What You Need to Know

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Macau casino operator Melco Crown Entertainment (NAS: MPEL) were fizzling today as investors sold shares down as much as 15% in intraday trading after the company reported third-quarter results.

So what: Sometimes Mr. Market does things that make me throw my hands up in confused exasperation. Such is the case with Melco Crown Entertainment today. Third-quarter results were more than solid -- adjusted EBITDA was $240 million, up 76% from a year ago. Meanwhile, both revenue and earnings per share topped analysts' expectations. Yet the stock is cratering.

My fellow Fool Travis Hoium suggested that expectations may be too high for Melco and Forbes said roughly the same, adding that excess supply in Macau may also be concerning investors.

Now what: On an absolute basis, Melco's stock doesn't look all that cheap -- as of yesterday it fetched trailing EBTIDA and earnings multiples of 12.6 and 55, respectively. But considering the rate at which the company is growing, the price isn't nearly as eye-popping -- with expected 2011 earnings per share at $0.43, the full-year earnings multiple today is a far more palatable 22.

The market as a whole may be more skeptical of higher-growth, higher-valued stocks right now, particularly in light of the major macroeconomic question marks. However, for those that believe in the long-term growth story for Melco, there doesn't seem to be anything in the third-quarter report giving reason to cut and run.

Want to keep up to date on Melco Crown Entertainment?Add it to your watchlist.

At the time this article was published Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not have a financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or Facebook. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye. 

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