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Why Harley-Davidson Stock Fell 12.1% Last Month

Travis Hoium, The Motley Fool

What happened 

Shares of Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG) dropped 12.1% in May, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, as tariff talk continues to hit the motorcycle industry hard. 

So what 

There wasn't a lot of specific news about Harley-Davidson last month, but that doesn't mean investors don't think it will be hurt by tariffs eventually. The company was a direct target of tariffs imposed by the European Union in retaliation for President Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs, which it said could cost it $100 million. As trade wars with Mexico and China heat up, companies that buy commodities to make products in the U.S. could see costs rise even further than they already have. 

Two people riding motorcycles on a highway.

Image source: Getty Images.

On top of potential tariffs, investors have been watching motorcycle sales drop, particularly in the U.S., where Harley-Davidson is primarily focused. You can see below that over the past five years, both revenue and net income have been steadily declining, and the company doesn't have room to increase prices to offset higher costs or it may see volumes fall even further. 

HOG Revenue (TTM) Chart

HOG Revenue (TTM) data by YCharts.

Now what

Harley-Davidson is stuck between a rock and a hard place, and I don't see an easy way out. The brand isn't resonating with younger consumers, and older consumers aren't gravitating to new products like the Livewire electric motorcycle. Unless some of the underlying trends driving motorcycle demand change, this isn't a stock recovery I would be betting on. 

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Travis Hoium has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.