updated 10/12/2005 8:11:02 AM ET 2005-10-12T12:11:02

Harley Davidson Inc. said Wednesday its third-quarter profit rose nearly 16 percent, citing robust motorcycle sales worldwide.

The results beat analysts’ average forecast, and Harley Davidson shares jumped on the news.

Earnings rose to $265 million, or 96 cents per share, from $229 million, or 77 cents per share. Revenue increased 10 percent to $1.43 billion from $1.3 billion a year ago, driven by double-digit sales growth the United States, Europe and Japan.

Wall Street’s mean earnings estimate was 90 cents per share, the average view of 15 analysts polled by Thomson Financial, on estimated revenue of $1.43 billion.

Looking ahead, the company forecast shipments between 348,000 to 352,000 motorcycles for next year, a target it called “conservative” due to rising fuel prices and interest rates.

Harley Davidson also said it was widening its long-term forecast for wholesale unit growth to a range of 5 percent to 9 percent annually, and annual earnings per share growth ranging from 11 percent to 17 percent.

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