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Bear Stearns Ups Boyd Gaming to Outperform

Bear Stearns raised its investment recommendation on Boyd Gaming (BYD) to outperform from peer perform, citing the stock's lower prices since late July and solid underlying operational momentum.

Analyst Joseph Greff also mentioned factors such as the company's strong development pipeline, which he thinks makes Boyd Gaming an attractive unit growth story. He upped his 57 cents fourth quarter earnings per share to 62 cents, his $2.27 2005 earnings per share estimate to $2.38, and his $2.47 2006 earnings per share estimate to $2.52. He sees annual earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, growth of 10% through 2007. He believes the hurricanes' impact was less severe than previously thought, and there's value in the company's La. properties: Stardust (where redevelopment is likely) and Barbary Coast (where redevelopment or a sale to Harrah's is likely).

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