Government sells $1.2B more General Motors stock in October, stake could be as low as 4 pct.

DETROIT – The U.S. government sold another $1.2 billion worth of General Motors stock last month as it moves closer to selling its entire stake in the automaker. The government’s stake as of Oct. 31 could be as low as 4 per cent.

A report to Congress Tuesday said the government has recovered roughly $37.2 billion of the $49.5 billion it spent to save GM five years ago. That means taxpayers are still $12.3 billion in the hole.

The report didn’t say how many shares were sold in October or how much stock the government still owns. As of Sept. 26, it owned 101 million shares or about 7 per cent of the company.

GM stock traded from $33.92 to $37.99 in October. At the midpoint of that range, the government would have sold about 33.4 million shares for $35.96 each.

That would leave the government with roughly 70 million shares, or about 4 per cent of GM. Those shares would have to sell for more than $175 per share for the government to break even. GM shares closed down 2 cents at $36.66.

The government got 912 million shares, or a 61 per cent stake in GM, in exchange for the bailout. A Treasury Department watchdog says the government expects to lose at least $9.7 billion on the bailout.