Harley-Davidson 1Q Beats, CEO Optimistic

By Retail FOXBusiness

Harley-Davidson (HOG) revealed a stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit on Wednesday and its chief executive expressed optimism that improving macro-economic conditions in the U.S. could help boost demand.

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Shares of Harley-Davidson were up about 4.5% on the news.

The Milwaukee company reported net earnings of $172 million, or 74 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier $119 million, or 51 cents. The results were ahead of average analyst estimates of 72 cents in a Thomson Reuters poll.

Revenue for the three months ended April 1 was $1.43 billion, widely topping the Street’s view of $1.22 billion. The results were led by sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles, which grew 20.3% during the quarter on strong U.S. demand.

“We continue to be encouraged by the strong trend at retail and in earnings over the past several quarters,” Harley CEO Keith Wendell said in a statement.

He attributed the quarterly growth to outstanding appeal of its products, ongoing turnaround strategies and improving macro-economic conditions in the U.S.

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The bike manufacturer now expects to ship 245,000 to 250,000 motorcycles around the world this year, a 5,000-unit increase from its earlier view.

The company, which said it has limited ability to produce additional motorcycles if necessary, also reiterated a goal to further expand its reach in markets outside the U.S.

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