Shares of the Milwaukee, Wis.-based motorcycle manufacturer were lifted after UBS upgraded the stock to buy from neutral. The firm also upped its price target to $63 per share, from $60. The stock currently trades near $59.
The company's announcement on Wednesday to repurchase 20 million shares, was the main factor behind the stock's upgrade from UBS. This comes after Harley-Davidson said it would buy 15.9 million shares back on June 16, the analysts noted.
UBS analyst Robin Farley wrote in a note: 'This is primarily a call about valuation and balance sheet strategy, not a change in revenue or profit outlook. With Harley-Davidson down 18% in [the last 12 months], Harley's challenged revenue outlook may be factored into the stock."
The analysts believe the repurchases could also boost earnings per share. "The total of $1.5 billion in share [repurchases] is roughly $900 million incremental to our previous 2015 estimate of $632 million. Assuming 6% cost of borrowing, we estimate the buyback could be roughly $0.21 accretive to 2016 earnings per share, which was previously $4.60."
UBS also pointed out how the company's low debt levels could push the company to repurchase even more shares.
The analysts at Goldman Sachs hold a buy/neutral rating with a $68 price target. Robert W. Baird & Co. maintains an outperform rating, along with a $70 price target. The analysts at RBC Capital Markets hold an outperform rating with a $63 target.
Shares closed at $59, up 4.2% on the day fell 10.5% since the start of the year. The company has a market capitalization of $11.7 billion.