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Harley-Davidson Hits Tariff-Related Potholes

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Shares of the iconic motorcycle maker took a pretty drastic downshift following the company’s fourth-quarter earnings, which missed analysts’ forecasts.

The reason: Ongoing declines in sales of hogs, to be sure, especially in the U.S., though equally the impact of China and European Union tariffs, which the company said put a dent in U.S. sales.

The Milwaukee-based company said it earned $13.5 million, or 20 cents an adjusted share, in the fourth quarter, vs. $500,000, or 17 cents an adjusted share, in the comparable year-ago period. Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting earnings of 24 cents a share.

Revenue came in at $1.07 billion, above analysts’ estimates of $922.4 million though below the $1.15 billion in sales it recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018.

U.S. retail sales continued to fall in the fourth quarter, though the pace was more tempered, Harley Davidson said. U.S. sales also dropped on a full-year basis, though the rate of decline was the lowest since 2016.

International retail sales, meantime, were up slightly in the fourth quarter behind continued growth in emerging markets. Full-year international retail sales finished down 3%.

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