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Ahead of the Bell: Harley-Davidson

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Citi analyst said Wednesday that it appears Harley-Davidson Inc. posted a double-digit retail sales increase in November, despite the effects of Superstorm Sandy.

Gregory Badishkanian, who backed his "Buy" rating for the motorcycle maker, said that based on checks with Harley dealers, the company's U.S. retail sales grew 10 to 12 percent in November, compared with a 10 percent increase in October.

"It is encouraging to see the sales momentum continue into November as we had anticipated U.S. retail sales to be likely impacted by storms and pessimism from dealers and core Harley customers due to post-election blues and fiscal cliff concerns," Badishkanian wrote in a note to investors.

The analyst added that the increase in sales continues to show that the Milwaukee-based company's sales improvement in September and October wasn't just a result of pent up demand stemming from a late product release this year.

Harley shares closed at $47.62 on Tuesday.