Back in 2007 - 2008, Harley Davidson (NYSE:HOG) was a good "tell" on the weakening US consumer, especially those that relied on the house ATM to fund their toy purchases. It has been a rough few years for the company, but with expectations far lower than the mid 2000s, the stock has rebounded nicely, including today's gap up on this morning's earning report. Guidance for 2011 shipments was also pushed up.
- Harley said it now expects to ship 228,000 to 235,000 motorcycles, an increase of 8 percent to 12 percent from last year. It had said in April that it planned to ship 215,000 to 228,000.
- U.S. retail sales of new motorcycles grew 7.5 percent to 53,599 bikes, marking the company's first domestic sales increase since the fourth quarter of 2006. Overseas, sales rose just 2.4 percent to 29,797 bikes.
- The sales mark a big change from just two years ago when Harley was shuttering plants and cutting thousands of jobs as it tried to ride out one of the toughest economic slumps in its history.
- They also helped the company's profit. Harley-Davidson Inc. earned $190.6 million, or 81 cents per share, more than double the $71.2 million, or 30 cents per share, it earned in the same quarter last year. Motorcycle and related product revenue rose 18 percent to $1.34 billion. Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 72 cents per share on $1.26 billion in sales, according to a FactSet survey.
- Harley's new bike sales plunged 23 percent in 2009, as its customers put off purchases or opted for a used bike instead. Sales fell the next year too, before picking up in the first quarter of this year, boosted by stronger consumer confidence and demand from outside of the United States.