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MGM Mirage Beats Estimates

Investors take profits, however.

High-end gaming continues to remain the bright spot in Las Vegas, as

MGM Mirage

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beat estimates with a 68% rise in quarterly profits.

The casino operator earned $156.3 million, or 54 cents per share, compared with $93.2 million, or 31 cents per share a year earlier. Analyst expected 41 cents per share, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

Net revenue rose 5% to $1.9 billion, beating the consensus Wall Street estimate of $1.83 billion.

Operating income rose 29% year-over-year at MGM's Las Vegas Strip properties, which include Bellagio, MGM grand and Mandalay Bay.

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Outside Vegas, operating income rose 23% at the company's casinos in Detroit, Mississippi and other areas of Nevada. These results were boosted by the recently reopened Beau Rivage on the Gulf Coast, which had been closed due to Hurricane Katrina damage.

Softness outside the Las Vegas strip has been evident elsewhere in the industry, notably at Thursday morning

earnings misser


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MGM said fourth quarter earnings per share would total 40 cents to 45 cents, below the 48 cents that analysts expect.

MGM shares fell 1.7% to $42.08 in early trading.