What happened 

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."  

Rendering of lottery balls coming out of a tablet computer.

Image source: Getty Images.

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

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.  

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.