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Invest in a Landmark

If you're lucky enough to attend the Kentucky Derby this September 5th, you can wager a few bucks and perhaps take away a small profit for your memories. But it's possible to play the Derby another way: as a shareholder, notes Jeffrey R. Kosnett, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

For every $2 "wagered" on Churchill Downs stock 10 years ago, the stock-bettor would have $25 and change, a return of nearly 29% annualized. Not bad odds in the world of investing. If you have a yen for history and want to invest in a landmark, here are four ways to do it:

Churchill Downs (CHDN) – The company deeded the Kentucky Derby racetrack to the city of Louisville in exchange for some help in developing amenities and expanding capacity, but it has the right to buy back the track from the city for $1. And what's important to the bottom line is the cash flow from the events. Churchill Downs also owns trademarks and other racetracks and casinos, and it is big in online betting. The combined enterprise in 2018 cleared a net $350 million in profits on $1 billion of revenue, a margin befitting a biotech winner rather than a sporting venture.

[TipRanks.com: Based on 2 analysts offering 12 month price targets for Churchill Downs in the last 3 months. The average price target for CHDN is $136.50 with a high forecast of $148.00 and a low forecast of $125.00. Both analysts rate CHDN a Buy.]

• Las Vegas Sands (LVS) – The complex includes the Venetian and Palazzo hotels and casinos, which together have 7,117 rooms and constitute America's largest hotel.

While not a formal historical landmark, the complex exemplifies the Vegas Strip, which is a special symbol of America and a backdrop for many movie scenes. The firm's China and Singapore casinos and hotels currently provide most of the revenue and profits, as well as future growth prospects. But Las Vegas is what resonates.

[TipRanks: Based on 11 analysts offering 12 month price targets for Las Vegas Sands in the last 3 months. The average price target for LVS is $57.63 with a high forecast of $73.00 and a low forecast of $48.00. 9 analysts rate LVS a Buy and 2 a Hold.]

Manchester United PLC (MANU) – The history of public shareholders in big league sports is both limited and uninspiring. Way back when, industrial companies sometimes owned ball clubs to help market products; Anheuser-Busch once ran the St. Louis Cardinals. Today, the financial value of sports teams stems mostly from product licensing and real estate. Manchester United PLC owns the world's most popular sports team (it has 10 times the social media following of the New York Yankees), as well as its hallowed turf, Old Trafford Stadium, which includes a café, museum and megastore. The company sweeps in far more from merchandise and sponsorships than from ticket sales.

The company's U.S. owners control most of the shares, but the rest trade and pay a small dividend.

[MarketWatch Analysis: Based on 3 analysts offering 12 month price targets for Manchester United. The average price target for MANU is $14.29. Two analysts rate MANU a Buy and 1 a Hold.]

Norfolk Southern Railway (NSC) – If you've seen photos of a train bent so sharply that riders in the front cars can see those in the rear, you're probably looking at Horseshoe Curve in central Pennsylvania. As legend has it, Horseshoe Curve was high on the Nazis' list of U.S. targets to sabotage. Norfolk Southern, operating in 22 states and the District of Columbia, is successor to the curve's original owner, the Pennsylvania Railroad. The stock has been a splendid long-term investment: As of October 2019, the company has declared a stock dividend for 149 consecutive quarters.

[TipRanks: Based on 15 analysts offering 12 month price targets for Norfolk Southern Railway in the last 3 months. The average price target for NSC is $177.40 with a high forecast of $203.00 and a low forecast of $116.00. 7 analysts rate NSC a Buy, 5 a Hold and 3 a Sell.]

Editor’s Note: Jeffrey R. Kosnett is a senior editor at Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, www.Kiplinger.com.

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