Harley-Davidson's Post-Earnings Pre-Market Gains Starting to Favor Longs

| About: Harley-Davidson, Inc. (HOG)

Don't bet your ride on a post-earnings pre-market advance in Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) shares on Tuesday. The stock just favors cutting its earnings-driven pre-bell gains in the following regular session, doing so in 7 of the last 12 quarters, or about 58% of the time.

Despite the historical data that leans toward a conservative long play on any HOG gain tomorrow, we would note that the near-term historical performance is starting to favor buyers looking for a more aggressive move north following early day gains. HOG has scored an earnings-driven pre-market advance in three of the last four quarters this past year, and in each of those three events the stock saw its gains grow more aggressive in the follow-on regular session - perhaps an indication the tide is turning for longs.

On the downside, HOG is about evenly mixed. It has recorded an earnings-driven pre-market decline in 12 quarters, widening its downside six times and reversing direction six times. Data that doesn't offer a clear directional influence for the short side.

Analysts expect HOG to report a Q1 profit of $0.53 per share on revenue of $1.048 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

Here's the historical performance:

On Jan. 25, 2011, HOG gained 1.8% in pre-market action after beating Q4 expectations. The stock soared in that day's regular session, closing with a hefty 8% rise.

On Oct. 19, 2010, HOG declined 1.5% in pre-bell trading after beating on earnings and coming in shy on revenue. The stock tumbled lower in that day's regular session, ending down 6.7%.

During the July 20, 2010 pre-market session, the stock gained 5.8% after a Q2 earnings beat, but revenue in line with Street expectations. Shares rose a more robust 13.6% during regular trading that day.

In the April 20, 2010 pre-market session, HOG gained 4.2% after a Q1 beat. Shares jumped a stronger 7.3% during regular trading.

On Jan. 22, 2010, the stock fell 2.4% during pre-market trading after swinging to a Q4 loss. Shares fell a deeper 7.7% during regular trading that day.

On Oct. 15, 2010, the stock fell 4.5% during pre-market trading. Shares reversed to close the regular session up 5.4%.

On July 16, 2009, the stock fell 4.2% during pre-market trading after Q2 results declined vs. the year-ago period and HOG cut its shipments guidance. Shares rebounded to close up 8.4% later that day.

On April 16, 2009, HOG jumped 8.5% in pre-bell trading after coming in shy of expectations but affirming its full year shipment forecast. The stock saw its gain cut back in the follow-on regular session, ending with a 5.7% rise.

On Jan. 23, 2009, HOG declined 10% in pre-market trading after missing quarterly expectations and announcing job cuts. The stock cut its downside in the regular session, ending the day down 7.2%

In the Oct. 16, 2008 pre-market HOG slipped 0.1% after reporting Q3 results well below the year-ago quarter. The stock gained 7.3% during that day's regular session.

On July 17, 2008, the stock jumped 9.1% during pre-market trading after after reporting ahead of the Street with Q2 results. The gain was trimmed to 7% by the final bell later that day.

On April 17, 2008, HOG beat on Q1 but also cut its outlook and announced job reductions. The stock slid 7.5% in pre-market trading, but rebounded in the regular session, ending the day down a more modest 1.9%.

On Jan. 25, 2008, HOG advanced 3.4% in pre-market trading after reporting EPS that missed expectations but revenue that was ahead of estimates. It saw that gain evaporate in the following regular session, closing the day down 5.3%.

On Oct. 19, 2007, HOG declined 0.4% in pre-bell action after beating estimates but also forecasting a decline in revenue and challenging markets in the near-term. The stock dipped deeper in the red in the Oct. 19 regular session, declining 1.3%.

On July 19. 2007, the stock slipped 0.5% in the pre-market session after HOG beat by a penny but with revs just shy. The loss was a deeper 2.9% by the close of regular trading later that day.

On April 19, 2007, HOG advanced 0.8% in pre-market action after the company topped Q1 expectations. It headed further north in that day's regular session, closing up 3.2%.

On Jan. 18, 2007, HOG declined 2.9% in pre-market trading after the company reported better-than-expected Q4 results. The stock cut back its pre-bell downside slightly in the regular session, ending the day down 2.5%.

On Oct. 12, 2006, HOG advanced 2.7% in pre-market trading after the company beat Q3 expectations. It maintained the same 2.7% rise through to the Oct. 12 regular session close.

On July 17, 2006, HOG advanced 2.6% in pre-market trading after the company beat on revenue, posted in-line earnings and issued guidance for further growth. It held gains in the regular session but saw its upside narrow to a 1.8% rise by the closing bell.

On April 12, 2006, HOG shed 3.9% in pre-market trading after the company reported Q1 results in line with Street expectations. The stock continued heading south in the regular session, ending bell-to-bell action down 5.9%.

On January 19, 2006, HOG edged up 0.2% during pre-market trading after the company beat Q4 earnings estimates despite being shy on revenues. The shares jumped during the day, ending the regular session up 4.6%.

On October 12, 2005, HOG gained 4.7% in the early morning when the company reported Q3 results that topped estimates. However, the shares lost their momentum and closed the regular session up only 2.8%.

On July 13, 2005, HOG rose 4.5% in pre-market trading after beating Q2 estimates and guiding full-year earnings above Street views. But HOG failed to build on those gains and fell back a bit to end the regular session up only 1.3%.

On April 13, 2005, HOG slid 16.5% in the pre-market session despite beating Q1 earnings estimates and reporting sales in line with expectations. The company lowered its 2005 earnings growth forecast. Shares dipped further, ending the regular session down 16.7%.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.