Two Major Investors Sell Blocks of GM Shares

From the Associated Press

California-based investment firms that rank as the second-and third-largest institutional investors in General Motors Corp. have sold big blocks of the automaker's stock, according to regulatory filings.

Capital Research & Management Co. of Los Angeles, GM's second-largest investor, sold 19.2 million shares, or 24% of its holdings in the company, according to second-quarter reports filed this week with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company's third-largest investor, Brandes Investment Partners of San Diego, sold 2.4 million shares, or 4% of its holdings.

Neither company would comment, saying they do not discuss their investments.

But other investors have increased their stakes in the world's largest automaker, including Credit Suisse, which bought 11.5 million shares to become the sixth-largest investor; Fidelity Management & Research, 6.8 million shares; and Franklin Mutual Advisers, 4.6 million shares, according to Lionshares.com.

GM's shares have risen 69% since hitting a 52-week low of $18.33 in December. The stock rose 45 cents to $30.99 on Wednesday.

Craig Fitzgerald, a partner with Plante & Moran in Southfield, Mich., who specializes in the automotive industry, said the transactions were the result of some investors who bought GM shares at a lower price taking a profit and others seeing signs of progress in the company's restructuring plan.

"GM in particular is continuing to do some of the key things they need to be doing," Fitzgerald said. "There's no reason to necessarily believe there isn't more upside in the short- and mid-term."

A GM spokeswoman, Brenda Rios, said: "It's natural for investors to periodically rebalance their holdings."

Much of the increase in the stock price has been driven by the disclosure that GM's largest investor, Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp. of Beverly Hills, is pushing GM to join the alliance of Nissan Motor Co. of Japan and Renault of France.

The three companies have formed teams of employees to study whether such an alliance would bring cost savings and other benefits.

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