Sales Down, but Profits Up for the HOG.

While Harley-Davidson sold fewer bikes in the first quarter of 2010, resulting in a revenue decrease to 1.04 billion from $1.28 billion a year ago, the earnings report, released today was better than Wall Street predicted and resulted in a slight bump in the company stock.  The Bar and Shield posted earnings of $33.3 million, or 14 cents a share, down from $117.3 million, or 50 cents a share, in the year-ago period.  Earnings from operations were 9% higher than was being predicted, which always makes the Street happy.

Harley-Davidson shipped 53,674 motorcycles during the quarter, down from 74,670 a year ago. It expects to ship between 55,000 to 60,000 motorcycles in the second quarter.

CEO Keith Wandell was cautiously optimistic about the numbers, but laid the groundwork for weak summer sales.  “Given the global economic uncertainty that still exists, we believe conditions will remain challenging throughout this year, and we will continue to factor that into how we manage the business,” he said.

Shares in the motorcycle manufacturer have doubled over the past year as Wandell has taken drastic cost cutting measures such as shutting Buell, selling MV Agusta, closing plants and test facilities.

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