JP Morgan Ups Harrah's to Outperform

Analyst Harry Curtis sees the casino operator's earnings growth reaccelerating through 2005

JP Morgan upgraded Harrah's Entertainment (HET ) to outperform from neutral.

Analyst Harry Curtis sees earnings growth reaccelerating to 15% through 2005 after a year of sub-par growth. He expects considerable incremental equity value will be created in the Caesar's acquisition. He notes the key to the Caeser's acquisition is increased exposure to Las Vegas, where strength is returning in September and growing by double-digits in October and November.

He says contrary to popular belief, the acquisition doesn't materially alter Harrah's exposure to Atlantic City. He notes Harrah's is the most seasoned consolidator in gaming industry with a proven track record, and he doesn't expect Caeser's to be an exception. He raised the $3.50 2005 EPS estimate to $3.76.

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