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Why Harley-Davidson Stock Crashed (Again) Today

By Rich Smith - Jan 31, 2018 at 11:38PM

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Wall Street takes a closer look at the numbers -- and finds little to like.

What happened

The sell-off of Harley-Davidson (HOG 1.04%) stock that began on Tuesday extended into Wednesday, with shares of the motorcycle maker falling a further 4.7% by close of trading. Combined, these past two days of trading have seen more than 12% of Harley-Davidson's stock value -- $1.1 billion in market capitalization -- vaporized.

So why is the sell-off continuing? Well, you can thank analysts at Deutsche Bank and Stifel Nicolaus for that. This morning, Deutsche Bank cut its price target on Harley stock to $46, while Stifel cut it to $49.

A row of parked motorcycles

Wall Street's had a chance to mull the numbers -- but no one wants to hop aboard Harley stock even at today's cheaper price. Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Deutsche's and Stifel's new price targets bracket Harley-Davidson's current stock price -- $48 and change. Not surprisingly, neither analyst is particularly negative on the stock. To the contrary, Deutsche Bank even admits that Harley's "financial news was not all bad," noting (for example) that under President Trump's new tax plan, Harley's tax rate will fall by about 10 percentage points, to somewhere between 23.5% and 25%. Still, neither banker sees enough positives to necessitate raising their ratings on Harley-Davidson stock from "hold."

Deutsche Bank in particular grumbles that "uncertainty about the company's sales outlook remains high."

Now what

Investors might want to pay attention to that last remark. According to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, most analysts following Harley-Davidson stock still believe the company is capable of growing its earnings by about 10% annually over the next five years. Given that the stock is selling for 15.5 times earnings today, that works out to a rather high PEG ratio of 1.5.

What's more, if "uncertainty" about Harley's sales outlook today turns into disappointment with those sales (and earnings) tomorrow, Harley's stock may still have further to fall.

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Harley-Davidson, Inc. Stock Quote
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