While sales and profit remained stable over the first nine months of the year, the third quarter was the first to go off the rails: new vehicle deliveries fell by 20%, and operating profit by 37%.

The same correction was seen in the financing business, with a rise in interest rates leading to a contraction in the net interest margin, and by extension a 27% drop in the subsidiary's operating profit. Management warns that current conditions are dampening the appetite of potential customers, even those with good credit scores.

It will be interesting to see whether the third quarter of 2023 marks a turning point towards the onset of recession. As for the market, it has already made up its mind, with the stock trading at its lowest valuation ratios in ten years.

In this respect, it is highly unusual for a company that combines so many qualities - extraordinary customer brand loyalty, 30% return on equity, pricing power - to be trading at less than six times earnings.

It's true that 2022 was a particularly good year - post-pandemic reopenings - and that investors are desperate to see Harley generate growth. The group, it is reported, will achieve sales this year exactly the same as twenty years ago.

What's more, even if they have been offset by price increases to date, sales volumes are steadily declining, while the quality of the company's credit portfolio remains unchanged. of its credit portfolio remains questionable; it wouldn't be the first time that a series of defaults put Harley in difficulty.

A true "cannibal", the group has massively bought back its own shares - one would expect nothing less from a profitable but mature business, with no real scope for further expansion. The number of shares in circulation has thus been halved in twenty years, without however producing the expected effect on earnings per share, which continue to hover around an average of $3.

A return to the "technical" low of $20 per share - touched three times in thirty years - could nevertheless represent an interesting opportunity.