You don’t have to be an economist to know that when the economy cools and unemployment strikes a family, buying a new motorcycle hits the backburner. But when things turn around, it may be time to buy that new bike. For Harley-Davidson (HOG), maker of the emblematic motorcycles that helped shaped the American self-image, things starting to rev up again.
The company says its first-quarter motorcycle sales revenue hit $1.06 billion, up from $1.04 billion during the same period in 2010. First quarter net income from continuing operations came to $119.3 million, or 51 cents per share, up from $68.7 million, or 29 cents per share, in the year-ago period.
Worldwide retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles grew 3.5 percent in the first quarter, compared to last year's first quarter.
“We are pleased by the growth of our dealers' new motorcycle sales on a worldwide basis, led by strength in Europe, even as we continue to encounter some headwinds in the U.S. related to the challenging macro-economic conditions,” says company CEO Keith Wandell.
Those headwinds may ebb a bit. As the summer approaches and motorcycle enthusiasts worldwide hit the open road, sales could climb.
Time to ride?
Such sentiment prompted UBS Investment Research to issue a “short-term” buy rating on the company’s stock on expectations of strong summer sales. That sent HOG soaring.
Still, the Japanese earthquake and tsunamis affected supply operations. Plus, aging customers will leave a vacuum as fewer young consumers are left in their wake to buy new motorcycles, points out analysts at Zacks Investment Research.
“The company retained a Zacks #3 Rank on its stock, which translated to a hold rating for the short term (one to three months) and we reiterate our neutral recommendation on the stock for the long term (more than six months),” Zacks says.
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