Harley-Davidson loses S&P 500 status

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Words: NZ Autocar
23 Jun 2020

If ever there was an annus horribilis for Harley-Davidson, surely it’s 2020. With its tumbling share price, it has just been delisted from the main Wall Street board where the top 500 US companies reside.

The market capitalisation of H-D has dropped to under $US4b, half of that required to be an S&P 500 stock. It now inhabits the S&P midcap 400 board that no-one has heard of.

The company has been in bad shape for the past few years, with sales falling, partly the result of natural attrition of its primary customer base. The boomers who bought the company’s products are slowly dying off, and are not being replaced by as many new customers.

Moreover, the diehards were not impressed by the apparent change in direction to electrification, not that the company necessarily wanted to pander to existing customers. It’s new blood that it needs.

So out with the old CEO and in with a new one, who is essentially steering the company back whence it came. Expect more cruisers, though the forthcoming Panamerica adventure bike and the Bronx streetfighter haven’t yet been axed. A launch delay isn’t a good look, however.

No longer being an S&P 500 stock will be another blow to the bike maker, both psychologically and financially. The latter because certain funds are only permitted to invest in S&P 500 companies to minimise risk.

As an aside, one of the new stocks to hit S&P 500 status is Teledyne Technologies Inc, presumably a subsidiary of Cyberdyne Systems.

Royal Enfield July 2020

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