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Harley-Davidson Inc said on Friday that its quarterly earnings fell 26 percent as sales of its iconic motorcycles tumbled in the United States, its biggest and most important market.

The company reported a fourth-quarter net profit of $186.1 million, or 78 cents a share, compared with $252.4 million, or 97 cents a share, last year. Sales fell 7.7 percent to $1.39 billion, the company said, pulled down by a 14.2 percent decline in US bike sales. Analysts, on average, expected the Milwaukee-based company to report a profit of 81 cents a share on sales of $1.34 billion.

Copyright Reuters, 2008

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