(Bloomberg) -- Macau casino stocks surged the most in nearly two and a half months after the gambling hub reopened to quarantine-free travel from mainland China.
Sands China Ltd. surged as much as 10%, the most since December 2018, and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. rose much as 12%, its steepest gain since March 20. Shares in Wynn Macau Ltd., Melco International Development Ltd. and MGM China Holdings Ltd. each climbed about 9%. A Bloomberg gauge for the sector's equities jumped as much as 8.5%, the most since November 10.
Macau has gradually been easing quarantine rules on visitors from China, its biggest market, with the final lifting of restrictions on Monday adding to optimism after data showed casino revenue surged last week during the Lunar New Year holidays.
"Easing quarantine policy between mainland China and Macau could provide a ground for foot traffic improvement for Macau casinos," said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Angela Hanlee. "We now need to watch how the mainland's policy toward overseas gambling is in March as it does not want Macau to become an infrastructure facilitating that."
The casinos have been recovering from their worst year on record after China began lifting travel restrictions months ago. Still, coronavirus testing and social distancing rules have kept many gamblers away, with gross gaming revenue down 64% from a year earlier in January. Visitor arrivals for that month are due later today.
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