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Sales Growth Revs Harley-Davidson (HOG) Prospects

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Harley-Davidson's (HOG - Get Report) third quarter came in as expected with few surprises, save a double-digit summertime surge in motorcycle sales.

Global sales of motorcycles increased 15.5% year on year to 70,517 units sold worldwide, accelerated by a 20.1% increase in the U.S. and revamped models of the Project Rushmore line. The Milwaukee-based company anticipates a total 259,000 to 264,000 motorcycle units shipped to distributors by the end of the year.

Third-quarter earnings came in 23.7% higher to 73 cents a share, or $162.7 million, from 59 cents a share, or $134 million, in the year-ago quarter, in line with analysts' expectations. Total revenue from motorcycles, related products and financial services was $1.34 billion, up 7% from $1.25 billion a year earlier.

"Harley-Davidson had a great third quarter, with strong financial performance and retail sales growth," said Chairman and CEO Keith Wandell. "We continue to see the benefits of our manufacturing, product development and retail strategies."

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Shares rose 2.2% to $67 before market open Tuesday. Year to date, the stock is up 34.3%, compared to the S&P 500 which has climbed 22.32%.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Harley-Davidson Inc as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate Harley-Davidson Inc (HOG) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value."

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