Is there a headlight at the end of the tunnel for Harley-Davidson? Observers see the company moving forward. Profits at the iconic Wisconsin firm fell through the first quarter, compared to last year – but Harley-Davidson appears headed in the right direction. “The good news is that the profit picture was better than the market expected,” says Dr. Michael McBain, is Senior Lecturer in Finance at UW Milwaukee. “The market builds in all the factors that they think are relevant, in expecting company earnings to be something, and in this case while they were down substantially it was still a positive surprise to the market.” McBain noted Harley stock closed higher Tuesday.
Reporter Rick Barrett follows Harley for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He too sees reason for optimism. “It’s going to be tough going for awhile, this is going to be a difficult year,” Barrett said. “And yet at the same time they’re doing what they have to do. Analysts are very pleased with it. They’re saying this company is making the right moves.”
While quarterly profits at Harley fell by 71-percent from January-through-March, compared to the same time a year ago, UW-M’s McBain says Harley outperformed market expectations by four cents a share. Barrett notes that the company is in the midst of a restructuring effort, but is also making major efforts to expand its brand appeal to younger riders, women and minorities.
Bob Hague (1:10 MP3) AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (1:10 MP3)