Johnson & Johnson, Harley-Davidson Beat On Earnings, Miss On Sales

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US motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson Inc kept its 2017 outlook unchanged despite its first-quarter shipments hitting the high end of its forecast.

Sales in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa fell 0.4%, and its Asia Pacific region reported a 9.3% decline; revenues in Harley-Davidson's Latin American segment jumped 24.2% year-over-year.

Harley-Davidson posted earnings of $1.05 per share on $1.33 billion in sales, compared to the Wall Street consensus estimates of $1.02 per share and $1.37 billion.

At the end of the first quarter of 2017, cash and marketable securities totaled $844.7 million, compared to $739.1 million in 2016. "If it continues and Harley can't find new riders beyond this demographic group, it's a problem".

The company's shipments in the United States - its biggest market - fell 20.6 percent to 45,784 motorcycles in the quarter ended March 26. It also came in below analysts' revenue estimate of $1.35 billion for the first quarter of the year. The Milwaukee-based company commands slightly more than half of the USA "big-bike" market: motorcycles with engine capacity of more than 601 cc. Analysts expect the company to announce earnings of $1.02 per share for the quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting earnings of $1.02 per share.

Analysts gives Harley-Davidson Inc (NYSE:HOG) a mean recommendation of 2.80. Shares are trading 1.15% above their 50-day moving average, and 7.98% below their 200-day moving average.

"We believe the U.S. industry continues to be adversely affected by soft used bike prices and weakness in the oil-dependent areas and we continue to expect the industry will remain soft for the full year", Harley's Chief Financial Officer John Olin said on a post-earnings conference call.

A number of brokerages recently issued reports on HOG. Analysts have a mean recommendation of 2.70 on this stock (A rating of less than 2 means buy, "hold" within the 3 range, "sell" within the 4 range, and "strong sell" within the 5 range). Goldman Sachs Group Inc reaffirmed a "neutral" rating and set a $57.00 target price on shares of Harley-Davidson in a research report on Monday, December 19th.

Best time to invest in stock market is when things are on odd side, and it's not easy how to pick stocks. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 103,960 shares of company stock worth $5,912,378. Finally, DA Davidson upgraded Harley-Davidson from an "underperform" rating to a "market perform" rating in a report on Wednesday, April 12th. Institutional investors own 89.54% of the company's stock. Manning & Napier Advisors LLC boosted its position in Harley-Davidson by 1.7% in the third quarter. The company has also been struggling to increase the operating income of the Financial Services segment.

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