Why Shares of Scientific Games Corp. Popped 15% Today

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What happened 

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Shares of Scientific Games Corp. (NASDAQ: SGMS) jumped as much as 14.9% in trading Tuesday after an analyst upgrade. This comes a day after the stock jumped on a stronger-than-expected earnings report. At 3:30 p.m. EDT, shares were still up 11.5% on the day. 

So what

The driver of today's jump was analyst Steven Wieczynski at Stifel Nicolaus, who raised his price target from $24 to $35. The price is below where shares are trading today, and Wieczynski didn't raise his rating on the stock, keeping it at a "hold."  

In a note to analysts, Wieczynski said debt refinancing and improving fundamentals could lead to accelerated margin expansion. That would be welcome news for investors a quarter after reporting a $0.44 loss per share. 

Now what

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Long-term, improving earnings will be far more significant than any analyst price target. But keep in mind that analysts are still expecting a loss of $1.05 per share in 2018, so profitability is still a long way off. That's a big reason to stay away from betting on this lottery stock and will keep me away from shares today.  

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Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.