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Analysts Update Views on Companies

18 July 2003

Joe Greff, an analyst for Fulcrum Global Partners, downgraded MGM MIRAGE stock to "neutral" from "buy" on the heels of the company's second quarter earnings conference call Thursday.

Todd Jordan, an analyst at Buckingham Research Group, upgraded shares of Mandalay Resort Group to a "strong buy" Thursday after the stock declined in the wake of MGM MIRAGE's weak earnings announcement.

Cash flow and earnings "inconsistency" and company-specific issues such as business disruption from room renovations and several shows that will be out of commission over the next two quarters "offset the asset quality of and the volume gains at its core Las Vegas Strip properties," Greff wrote in a research report.

"Our buy rating was predicated on volume growth offsetting these pressures in the near term," Greff said. "Since this is likely not the case, we think the shares are fairly valued," he continued.

Meanwhile, MGM MIRAGE made positive comments during its conference call that "favorably impact" Mandalay, such as figures on the company's room revenues and casino volumes, Jordan wrote in a research note.

Favorable comments about room revenues "are supported by our room rate survey which indicates very strong room rates into August," he said. "(Mandalay) maintains more leverage to Strip (room revenue) than any other company including (MGM MIRAGE)."

Jefferies & Co. analyst Maria Rickert downgraded shares of slot maker International Game Technology to "hold" from "buy."

IGT reported strong earnings Thursday, two cents above the firm's estimate, she said.

The company is trading at the top of its historical range and is hitting up against the firm's price target of $29, she said.

"Although we are still very positive on the company itself, we are now downgrading the stock as a valuation call," she wrote in a research note.

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