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GM shareholders meeting could focus on sagging stock

Mitt Romney sits in the Chrysler Eco-Voyager concept car in January 14, 2008 in Detroit, Mich. Romney has been pressing for a quick exit from General Motors by the government.

Jeremy Hobson: Well in Detroit today General Motors shareholders are getting together for their annual meeting.

The company's stock has been sagging recently, and as Marketplace's Bob Moon reports, the reason is in part political.


Bob Moon: Morningstar's David Whiston has been keeping a close watch on the presidential campaign, for signs of when the government might unload its remaining 32 percent stake in General Motors. It still holds 500 million shares, as part of the deal that saved the carmaker. Whiston thinks the uncertainty over the timing of that sale is keeping GM's stock artificially low.

David Whiston: You're talking about a tremendous amount of shares that could potentially be dumped on the market at once, and it's just a reason for investors to look elsewhere.

Republican Mitt Romney has been pressing for a quick exit by the government, and for a while, Whiston thought that might happen. But now, he doubts the Obama administration would sell for a big loss to taxpayers -- at least not at this point.

Whiston: If they wait until after the election, and hypothetically if Obama were to win, they can sell the shares and take the bad publicity then, without costing them the election.

As for GM, spokesman Jim Cain says it'll be a great day when the government does decide to wind down its stake -- but for now the company's just focused on making the best cars it can.

Jim Cain: The question of government ownership isn't something we can control, so we don't try to.

I'm Bob Moon for Marketplace.

About the author

Bob Moon is Marketplace’s senior business correspondent, based in Los Angeles.
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