Casino Winners: MGM Mirage, Pinnacle

Casinos are rallying following upgrades within the sector.
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(Casino winners article update with Station Casinos bid and stock movement.)

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Casinos are rallying after two stocks within the sector received upgrades.

MGM Mirage

(MGM) - Get Report

was added to Goldman Sachs' conviction buy list, with Goldman arguing that the stock could jump 25%.

Casino operators will be reporting their first-quarter earnings in the beginning of May, and analyst Steven Kent believes we will see significant improvements in Las Vegas and continued strength in Macau.

Shares of MGM are surging 5.7% to $14.84 on the upgrade, lifting

Las Vegas Sands

(LVS) - Get Report

5.7% to $24.07 and

Wynn Resorts

(WYNN) - Get Report

up 4.3% to $86.47.

Isle of Capri Casinos

(WYNN) - Get Report

is also rising 4.9% to $11.10.

Pinnacle Entertainment

(PNK) - Get Report

is gaining 4.9% to $11.79 after it was upgraded to buy. KeyBanc analyst Dennis Forst said the company could be in the midst of a significant turnaround.

"The combination of a new CEO, a major change in strategic focus and cost cutting and non-core asset sales, combined with potential macro catalysts and an attractive valuation have overcome our former neutral posture toward the shares," he wrote in a note.

Pinnacle hired a new CEO, Anthony Sanfilippo, last month and last week announced that it is abandoning its $305 million Sugarcane Bay project and instead focusing on a new hotel-casino development in Lake Charles, La.

In other casino news, bankrupt

Station Casinos

received a $772 million offer from the founding Fertitta family to acquire most of its assets,

Reuters

reported. This offer could help the casino operator emerge from bankruptcy by the end of the year.

Boyd Gaming

(BYD) - Get Report

has expressed interest in purchasing some of Station's assets, but it has rejected its offers thus far.

Boyd told

Reuters

that it will continue to pursue Station Casinos. Shares of Boyd are increasing 4.4% to $11.58 in afternoon trading.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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