Harley-Davidson jumps on bullish sales outlook

A Harley-Davidson '911' motorcycle, outside the Milwaukee Art Museum to commemorate the Harley-Davidson 110th Year Anniversary Celebration in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 
Raymond Boyd | Getty Images
A Harley-Davidson '911' motorcycle, outside the Milwaukee Art Museum to commemorate the Harley-Davidson 110th Year Anniversary Celebration in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

Shares of Harley-Davidson gained about 4 percent Wednesday after UBS said it expects the motorcycle maker's March retail sales to come in well above consensus estimates.

"We believe March U.S. retail sales at the dealer level for Harley were up close to +10% [year over year]," UBS analyst Robin Farley said in a note Wednesday. "We have previously noted the warm winter — with (average) temperatures 16 degrees warmer in the Northeast in Feb and 11 degrees warmer in March vs prior year — could increase sales and also pull forward some sales from Q2."

Harley's stock is up about 7.5 percent in the last three months, but has fallen 28 percent year over year.

"March is the most meaningful month of Q1, typically making up about half of Q1 retail sales in the US, and 11% of FY," Farley said.

Harley is scheduled to report quarterly results on Tuesday.

Harley-Davidson in last 12 months