AP News

Analyst: Harley-Davidson October sales up 10 pct

NEW YORK (AP) — A Citi analyst said Wednesday that it appears Harley-Davidson Inc.'s October sales rose more than analysts previously thought.

THE OPINION: Gregory Badishkanian said that based on checks with Harley dealers, it looks like retail sales rose 10 percent in October, while most analysts expected the company to post an increase in the mid-single digits for the month.

In comparison, the company's sales rose 9 percent in September and fell 5 percent in the third quarter, he said.

Badishkanian, who reaffirmed his "Buy" rating for the company's stock, called the double-digit jump "encouraging," because it may indicate that September's sales increase wasn't just due to pent-up demand stemming from the late launch of a new model.

"We expect November to be a noisy month with U.S. retail sales likely being impacted by the storms as well as greater levels of pessimism from dealers and core Harley customers due to the election results," Badishkanian wrote in a note to investors.

Badishkanian added that it also looks like dealer inventories of bikes have improved, with half of them seeing year-over-year increases compared with 25 percent seeing a decline.

THE SHARES: Up 31 cents to $45.84 in midday trading. Over the past 52 weeks, the shares have traded between $34.39 and $54.32. Since the beginning of this year, the shares have risen about 17 percent.

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