Updated from 11:21 a.m. EDT

Pinnacle Entertainment ( PNK) shares finished higher on Friday after the casino company reported first-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street estimates.

Pinnacle reported earnings from continuing operations of $1.2 million, or 2 cents per share on lower pre-opening and development costs, compared with a loss $15.8 million, or 26 cents per share in the prior-year period. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting a loss of 3 cents per share.

The $269 million in revenue also beat Wall Street's forecast of $265.3 million.

Pinnacle shares closed up 6.2% to $11.40.

Pinnacle, based in Las Vegas, operates seven casinos in the U.S., mostly in Louisiana, Indiana, Missouri and Nevada.

The quarter impressed JPMorgan gaming anlayst Joseph Greff: "We reaffirm our Overweight rating and are upping our year-end 2009 price target to $14 from $11, which we base on a sum-of-the-parts-derived EV/EBITDA multiple of 6.7x (on 2011E, discounted back one year)," he wrote in a note after the company reported.

Elsewhere in casino land, shares of Las Vegas Sands ( LVS) were up 18.6% to $7.42 on volume of more than 89 million shares.

Penn National Gaming ( PENN), which reported an upbeat quarter Thursday, was up 6.8% to $32.86.

Those results also impressed Greff: "We continue to believe that PENN is well positioned in relatively healthy regional gaming markets, possesses a strong competitive positioning in these markets, and has the ability to extract margin improvement even on flat year-over-year revenue performance," he wrote in a note late Thursday. "We are also raising our year-end 2009 price target to $34 from $31, which assumes that PENN can trade at 7.5x 2010E EV/EBITDA by the end of the year."

MGM Mirage ( MGM) was up 6.3% to $6.08.

Boyd Gaming ( BYD) was up 21.2% to $7.96.

Wynn Entertainment ( WYNN) was higher by 8.5% to $39.53.

Melco Crown Entertainment ( MPEL) was up 7.5% to $4.88.

Isle of Capri Casinos ( ISLE) finisehd higher by 3.1% to $9.27.

Ameristar Casinos ( ASCA) was up 5.3% to $15.87.

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