Isle of Capri (ISLE) isn't anywhere near Italy. This U.S. gambling company owns and operates riverboat and dockside casinos in Iowa, Louisiana, and Mississippi. It also owns a casino in Colorado, a harness-racing facility in Florida, and operates a 50%-owned facility on a cruise ship based in New Orleans. Some investment and gambling industry pros have been buying shares, currently at 13. One reason: Isle of Capri is on a fast track to growth. One other reason: There is talk that two gambling companies, one in London and the other in Las Vegas, have expressed interest in buying Isle. Based on Isle's fundamentals, analysts put its worth at 18. In a buyout, it's worth 25, says a New York money manager who has been buying shares.
Dennis Forst, an analyst at KeyCorp's McDonald Investments, says "this rapidly growing operator has arguably the best long-term earnings record in the second-tier gaming group." He expects it to earn $1.09 a share in 2000, and $1.35 in 2001, up sharply from 1999's 51 cents.