Thomas Weisel Upgrades Boyd Gaming to Outperform

Analyst Jake Fuller says the casino operator has turned a corner

Thomas Weisel upgraded Boyd Gaming (BYD ) to outperform from peer perform.

Analyst Jake Fuller says after mid-2003 disappointments, Boyd has turned a corner. He believes same-store EBITDA comparisons are at the inflection point. On the heels of four straight declines, he sees second-quarter EBITDA flat to up 1%, and third-quarter EBITDA up 20%.

Fuller notes he downgraded in July, 2003 with soft start-up margins at Atlantic City casino Borgata. Margins beat estimates in the fourth quarter of 2003, and should ramp towards 25% this quarter. Fuller also notes several casino projects in the works, including Delta Downs, Blue Chip, Orleans, and Southcoast. After these acquisitions are completed, Boyd Gaming will rank No. 5 in the industry, and be a leader in the appealing Vegas locals market.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.