Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD) earnings hit Wall Street after the market closed on Wednesday afternoon. The casino operator showed a loss of 4 cents for the three months through March. Revenue for the period, which Boyd gaming records as the first quarter of its fiscal 2014, came in at $708.3 million. The company’s shares were lifted ahead of the earnings release and hit $11.79 before the market closed.

Boyd gaming

Shares in Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD) have been performing relatively well through the opening months of 2014. The firms’ stock has gained more than 5% so far this year, well ahead of the 1.855 added by the S&P 500 through April 30. That gain comes after years of poor returns, however, making the 2014 increase a silver lining on what has become a very dark cloud.

Boyd Gaming tries to eliminate losses

It has not been an easy few years for Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD). The company lost the majority of its value in the years immediately following the financial crisis of 2008. Analysts are expecting the firm to reveal a profit in 2014 for the first time since 2010. Analysts are looking for the company’s EPS to hit 21 cents for the full year 2014.

Earnings for the first quarter of 2014, the period covered by today’s earnings release, were expected to come in at 1 cent per share. Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD) is like so many other firms, seasonally weak in the first quarter of the year. The company’s returns through the rest of 2014 are expected to carry it through to its full year profit. Revenue in the first quarter was expected to come in at $713 million according to 16 analysts surveyed by Businessweek.

Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD) spent the years before the financial crisis aggressively acquiring casinos around the United States. The lack of expected recovery throughout the US economy has harmed the company’s prospects to a large degree, and that may continue to be a theme for it, and so many other firms, throughout 2014.

Boyd management ready for questioning

The conference call set to take place at 5 PM EST is set to be an important exchange for Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD) management and the company’s shareholders. Last week it was revealed that an inquiry had been opened into the way the company pays its executives, with particular attention on pay rises between 2012 and 2013. With the company’s shareholders hurting from poor performance, executive fiduciary impropriety could be a major worry for the company.

Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD) racked up a substantial amount of debt acquiring casino businesses in the years heading into the financial crisis. The company’s management have been accused of choosing to pay themselves instead of returning money to shareholders. The company has not paid a dividend since 2008.

All of this works against the company and yet its shares are gaining value faster than the S&P 500 in the opening months of 2014. The conference call is likely to be of more interest than the company’s earnings numbers, and the responses of management to analyst questioning may drive the firm’s future value.