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Polaris -owned Indian Motorcycle’s new Challenger bike is “aimed squarely” at Harley’s popular Road Glide model.

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Surprisingly strong earnings at Harley-Davidson helped push the stock higher last month. Now an analyst at KeyBanc sees downside for the motorcycle manufacturer.

The back story. Harley-Davidson stock (ticker: HOG) got a much-needed boost in October as the favorable result offset news that the company halted production of its much-anticipated electric motorcycle.

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The company’s September-quarter earnings were better than expected thanks to rising Asian sales. Dealers in the U.S. surveyed by analysts had indicated that sales were weak, so a decline in domestic sales came as no surprise. Unanticipated growth abroad pushed the stock up 8% on Oct. 22.

By the close of trading last week, the shares were up 15% in 2019 and 0.3% in the trailing one-year period.

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What’s new. KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Brett Andress says Polaris -owned Indian Motorcycle’s new Challenger bike is “aimed squarely” at Harley’s popular Road Glide model.

“We view this important (and profitable) niche as ripe for a formidable domestic alternative,” Andress wrote.

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Harley-Davidson sold about 24,500 Road Glide bikes in the U.S. in the 12 months through August. That amounts to 15% to 20% of its total U.S. retail sales volume.

“While some argue Road Gliders are among the most loyal HOG riders, we argue part of this is due to its domestic equity, where there has been no formidable alternative of late, leading us to believe that HOG has a lot to lose here,” he wrote.

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Harley declined to comment.

Harley stock was down 1.6% to $38.71 in early trading Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.5% higher.

Looking ahead. Andress thinks Indian’s Challenger can contribute about $90 million in sales to the company and about 35 cents a share to Polaris’s earnings over the next two years, while pressuring Harley’s earnings by about 25 cents a share.

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He said that while Harley’s efforts to get Americans riding motorcycles again can benefit the company over the long term, the new competition, signs that sales may have been weaker in October, and a lack of factors that could lift the stock in the near term led him to downgrade the shares. Andress now rates Harley at Underweight, rather than Sector Weight, with a $33 price target.

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7 comments

  1. Harley-Davidson been fooling the minion masses since 1903,building with the best technology of turning gas into noise without the adverse effect of horsepower and torque. The King has been dethroned by Indian, again. Outstanding job Polaris. Let’s hear the Harley minions squeal like a bunch of stuck pigs about how Harley is failing. This Sportster was dethroned two years ago by scout. Hasn’t won a race on the flat track since. Boo hoo hoo hardly.

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  2. I have 2 broken Harleys in my garage, one with under 10000 mile and catastrophic engine failure. I just purchased an Indian Chief as a reliable, American mad alternative and love it so far.

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