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MGM Resorts rises as analyst lifts rating

NEW YORK (AP) -- An analyst boosted his rating and price target for MGM Resorts International on Wednesday, saying a recent pullback in the casino resort operator's stock price presents a good buying opportunity.

THE SPARK: Harry Curtis of Nomura Equity Research upgraded MGM Resorts to "Buy" from "Neutral" and increased its price target to $18 from $16.

THE ANALYSIS: Curtis' note to clients pointed out that shares of MGM Resorts are down 15 percent since the middle of May, compared with a 4 percent drop in the S&P 500 over the same period of time.

The analyst said he believes that the company's second-quarter Las Vegas revenue per available room — a key indicator of a lodging operator's performance — could come in higher than MGM Resorts' forecast for a 2 percent increase. The company has also been seeing better-than-expected attendance at its Las Vegas conventions, which should hold up next year, he added.

A representative for MGM Resorts did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

SHARE ACTION: Shares of MGM Resorts rose 65 cents, or 4.7 percent, to $14.35 in afternoon trading, after earlier spiking as high as $14.65. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $8.83 to $15.95.