Harley-Davidson First-Quarter Profit Falls, but Adjusted Earnings Beat Estimates

Shares of famous motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson ( HOG) rallied Thursday, on the heels of a positive first-quarter earnings report that easily beat analyst expectations on an adjusted basis.

The Milwaukee-based company said that its first-quarter profit was $117.3 million, or 50 cents per share, compared with $187.6 million, or 79 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue fell 2% to $1.29 billion.

However, the company said its earnings were negatively impacted by a few one-time items, including restructuring costs and a tax law change in Wisconsin. Excluding these special one-time charges, which totaled $57.4 million, the company saw adjusted earnings of 59 cents per share.

On average, Wall Street analysts expected EPS of 51 cents on revenue of $1.28 billion.

Harley said that worldwide sales of its products dropped 12% year over year, while U.S. sales fell 9.7%. Despite the environment remaining "challenging" throughout 2009, the company reaffirmed its estimates to ship 264,000 and 273,000 motorcycles to dealers worldwide this year, which is 10%-13% lower than 2008 levels.

Harley also said it will be forced to cut 300 to 400 jobs in 2009 and 2010, which is lower than the 800 it originally anticipated.

Harley shares rose $1.67, or +9.75%, in late morning trading Thursday.

We removed shares of HOG from our "Recommended" list back on Sept. 29, when the stock was trading at $40.04. The stock has a dividend yield of 2.34%, based on last night's closing stock price of $17.13.

The company has near-term technical support in the $11-$12 price range. If the shares continue the recent rally, we see the next level of overhead resistance around the $24-$25 price area. We would remain on the sidelines for now.

Harley-Davidson is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com DARS Rating of 2.8 out of 5 stars.

Entergy Warns of First-Quarter Miss, but Reaffirms Full-Year Guidance

Electric power producer and distributor Entergy ( ETR) said Thursday that its first-quarter earnings will be lower than analysts expect.

The New Orleans-based company said its fiscal first-quarter profit will come in around $1.19 per share, compared with $1.56 per share in the year-ago period. On average, Wall Street analysts expect earnings of $1.50 per share.

Entergy cited several reasons for the lowered forecast, including refueling outages at nuclear plants, impairments on investments, higher taxes in some plant areas, and other special items.

Despite the negative outlook on the quarter, Entergy reaffirmed its full-year earnings guidance of $6.70 to $7.30 per share. On average, analysts expect full-year earnings of $6.93 per share.

Entergy shares rose $1.33, or +2%, in early afternoon trading Thursday.

We removed shares of ETR back on Aug. 8, when shares were trading at $103.24. The company has a dividend yield of 4.58%, based on last night's closing stock price of $65.45.

The stock has technical support in the $56-$59 price area. If the shares can gain some momentum here, we see the next level of overhead resistance around the $70-$74 price levels. We would remain on the sidelines for now.

Entergy is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com DARS Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars.

Genuine Parts First-Quarter Profit Falls 27%, but EPS Beats Estimates

Auto parts maker Genuine Parts ( GPC) beat analyst estimates Thursday, as its first-quarter profit decline was not as steep as had been expected.

The Atlanta-based company reported a fiscal first-quarter profit of $89.2 million, or 56 cents a share, down 27% from $123.5 million, or 75 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Revenue fell 11% to $2.44 billion.

On average, analysts expected profits of 49 cents per share on revenue of $2.49 billion.

Genuine Parts CEO Thomas Gallagher said he expects "gradual improvement in our overall results as the year progresses."

Genuine Parts shares rose $2.80, or +8.9%, in early afternoon trading Thursday.

We removed the shares from our "Recommended" list back on Oct. 2, when they were trading at $39.75. The company currently has a dividend yield of 5.09%, based on last night's closing stock price of $31.45.

The stock has technical support in the $25-$27 price area. If the shares can firm up, we see overhead resistance around the $36-$38 price levels. We would remain on the sidelines for now.

Genuine Parts is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com DARS Rating of 3.1 out of 5 stars.

JPMorgan Shares Rise on Earnings Beat

Shares of JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) were are up nearly 3% in early trading after the company beat Wall Street EPS estimates by 10 cents.

The company reported a profit of $1.52 billion, or 40 cents a share, down from $2.29 billion, or 67 cents a share, a year earlier. The company said improved investment banking performance offset increased losses from credit cards and other consumer debt.

We removed shares of JPM from our "Recommended" list back on Nov. 12, when the stock was trading at $36.35. The company has a .61% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $32.56.

The stock has near-term technical support in the $25-$27 price area. If the shares can continue the recent strong run, we see overhead resistance around the $36 price area. We like the recent news for the company, but would still remain on the sidelines.

JPMorgan is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com DARS Rating of 3.2 out of 5 stars.

At the time of publication, the author had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

Tom Reese and Paul Rubillo are senior editors of Dividend.com. Visit Dividend.com for more dividend stock ratings, picks, news, and analysis for long-term and income-seeking investors.

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