Casino stocks got a boost Wednesday after one analyst said the recent weakness in the sector has provided a nice buying opportunity. "Although estimates might need to come down through earnings season, we believe these reductions are mostly priced in at present levels," CIBC analyst David Katz wrote in a note to clients. "Further, while consumer trends could be weakening some this year and specific markets may face more challenges over the next few quarters than others, gaming as a business should continue to grow solidly through 2007, in our view." Shares of Penn National Gaming ( PENN) rose more than 7% to $37.77 after Katz upgraded the stock, calling it one of the best opportunities in the small- and mid-cap casino group. Katz raised his rating on the company to sector outperform from sector perform and increased his price target to $46 from $40. "Ultimately, we believe management has demonstrated its ability to manage the competitive and regulatory challenges that occur regularly in the riverboat market," Katz wrote in a note to clients. "We also believe it is reasonable to expect at some point a potential opportunity in Atlantic City could become a reality." MGM Mirage ( MGM) also was upgraded to sector outperform from sector perform. Katz maintained his $52 price target. The shares were up $1.66, or 4.5%, to $38.25. Katz expects MGM to earn 55 cents a share in second quarter, above the 53-cent average analyst estimate. Katz said his forecast reflects strong trends in the Las Vegas market and includes solid margin expansion at the MGM Grand, Mirage and New York-New York. Boyd Gaming ( BYD) and Harrah's Entertainment ( HET) also were moving higher after Katz mentioned them as good buys. Boyd recently was up 84 cents, or 2.3%, to $38.04; Harrah's advanced $1.30, or 2%, to $66.36.