President Barack Obama on Thursday welcomed the return of a rejuvenated General Motors to the U.S. stock market, saying some of the “tough decisions that we made” during the financial crisis were beginning to pay off.
“Today, one of the toughest tales of the recession took another big step toward becoming a success story,” Obama told reporters at the conclusion of the new GM stock’s first day of trading as an initial public offering.
The stock trading — more than 400 million shares were sold during its debut on the Big Board — helped reduce the federal government’s control of the company.
“American taxpayers are now positioned to recover more than my administration invested in GM, and that’s a good thing,” Obama said, speaking shortly after the 4 p.m. market close.
He said the early success of the IPO validates his administration’s $50 billion taxpayer-backed rescue of the venerable automaker. The sale of the new stock is a milestone for both the corporation and for the Obama administration.
Those who held old GM stock were essentially wiped out when the company filed for bankruptcy.
Because of the public offering, the government reduced its ownership stake in GM from 61 percent to about 36 percent.
Obama says there were many “doubters and naysayers” when his administration stepped in to help GM. He said the tough decisions his administration made are paying off.
“We are finally beginning to see some of these tough decisions that we made in the midst of the crisis pay off,” the president said.
The stock, which opened at $33 a share, rose sharply in its first minutes of buying then settled back, closing at $34.19.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)