(Casino winners and losers article updated with additional analyst actions.)NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Casino behemoths Las Vegas Sands ( LVS), Wynn Resorts ( WYNN) and Melco Crown Entertainment ( MPEL) were upgraded by analysts on Tuesday as international growth opportunities are expected to remain fruitful. Wynn received a boost from KeyBanc Capital Markets to hold from underweight and raised its earnings estimates. Analyst Dennis Forst said in a note that the casino operator will likely continue to see strength in Macau through 2011. On Monday, the Chinese gambling enclave reported a 66% surge in gaming revenue in December, and analysts predicted the region could see a record month in January or February. Forst also noted that Wynn should benefit from its strong balance sheet. He now foresees Wynn earning 74 cents a share in the fourth quarter, from prior outlook of 52 cents. For the full year, Forst is calling for a profit of $1.92 from $1.69 a share, and for fiscal 2011 is looking for earnings of $2.67. He previously estimated a profit of $2.39 a share. Sterne Agee analyst David Bain also lifted his target price and estimates on Wynn, but maintained his neutral rating. "We remain neutral rated on Wynn as we are concerned that near-term earnings momentum and enthusiasm will be somewhat offset by the reality of competition in Macau coming in mid-calander year 2011 with the Galaxy opening and in calender year 2012 with the phased opening of Las Vegas Sands' Sites 5 & 6," he wrote in a note. Nonetheless, Bain believes Wynn had an excellent fourth quarter in Macau, and raised his 2011 and 2012 EBITDA estimates to $1.21 billion and $1.30 billion, respectively. Shares of Wynn are gaining 3% to $112.28 in afternoon trading. Bain also reiterated his buy rating on Las Vegas Sands and lifted his estimates and price target. Las Vegas Sands ended the trading day on Monday down nearly 1%, despite strong numbers out of Macau. "We believe the underperformance was due to concerns on Singapore earnings, as well as somewhat softer-than-average market share performance in Macau," Bain wrote in a note. "We do not agree with the view that earnings from Singapore will be soft in the fourth quarter of 2010 and believe the December market numbers in Macau should more than outweigh what we consider to be relatively small, monthly market share data slightly below the company's average."
Bain says he is bullish on the stock due to its Macau pipeline and untapped Singapore potential. He upped his price target on the stock to $53 from $50. Las Vegas Sands stock is rising 3.8% to $47.30 in midday trading. Macau-based Melco Crown Entertainment will also reap the benefits of strength in the Chinese region, as its flagship City of Dreams propertiest undergoes more improvements. As a result, Bain raised his estimates on the stock and increased his target price to $9 from $8.50 a share. Shares of Melco are up nearly 1% to $6.69 following the revision. --Written by Jeanine Poggi in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jeanine Poggi. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jpoggi. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.