Tuesday Trends sample: Harley-Davidson rising, Milwaukee streetcar mixed and manufacturing falling

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Harley-Davidson: The Milwaukee motorcycle manufacturer reports another strong quarter in its latest filing, including by a 30 percent increase in earnings. Harley reported $247.3 million in net income for the second quarter compared to $190.6 million in the second quarter of 2011. Revenue from motorcycles and related products rose from $1.34 billion in the previous second quarter to $1.57 billion this time around as retail motorcycle sales increased by 4 percent domestically and 2.8 percent worldwide. Company income for the first half of the year overall is up more than 35 percent over the first six months of 2011.


Milwaukee streetcar: The controversial downtown transit line could be shifting away from its original plans following concerns over nearby utility infrastructure. Milwaukee officials, in a filing with the state Public Service Commission, say they are looking at the possibility of moving part of the streetcar route one block to the east — from Broadway to Milwaukee Street — in an effort to curb the cost of moving utility lines to accommodate the two-mile, nearly $65 million line. The PSC has been asked to weigh in on whether the city or utility companies would ultimately bear responsibility for the costs of moving those lines — a number that could hit $55 million, utilities warn. Preliminary engineering on the streetcar line is already underway.


Manufacturing: The latest monthly manufacturing report from Marquette University shows the regional manufacturing sector in Milwaukee declining for the first time in three years. The July ISM-Milwaukee report listed the area’s seasonally adjusted purchasing manager’s index at 46.7. An index of more than 50 reflects a growing manufacturing sector, while a score of less than 50 — the first such score since the July 2009 report — shows a slowing sector. Although summers are generally slower for the industry, a Marquette analyst said he couldn’t pinpoint the reason for the dramatic drop from June’s 60.2 index, pointing to potential concerns about the November elections and the global economy. The Marquette report’s analysis of regional manufacturing hiring showed slowing, but the index remained above 50 — indicating continued hiring growth.