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(Story updated with GM closing price.)



) --

General Motors


shares finished $1.19 above their IPO price Thursday, rising 3.6% to $34.19.

GM was delisted by the


a year and a half ago after filing for bankruptcy protection. It has retained its well-known ticker symbol of GM.

The shares first opened at $35 and hit an intraday high of $35.99 in early trades. Volume totaled 444 million for the regular session, good for the second most-active issue on the New York Stock Exchange behind


, which saw 454 million shares change hands and typically tops the Big Board's most-active chart. GM's low for the day was $33.89. After the closing bell, the stock slipped another 13 cents to $34.06 on after-hours volume of 6.6 million.

GM CEO Dan Akerson rang the opening bell at the NYSE Thursday morning, except the sound wasn't a bell. Viewers heard the sound of a Chevrolet Camaro engine starting up instead.

During a morning interview with


, Akerson noted that GM plans to produce more fuel-efficient cars. In fact, he is scheduled to make an announcement related to energy and environmental sustainability during a media conference call this afternoon.

The offering's total value should be about $23.2 billion, including $18.2 billion from the sale of common stock and $5 billion from selling preferred stock.

A big beneficiary of the offering is the federal government, which should take in about $13.6 billion as it sells the majority of its shares, reducing its ownership in the company from 61% to 33%.

It is unclear how much more the government will receive, because the value of its remaining shares will fluctuate, but it is safe to say that the restoration of GM will be considered to be among the signature accomplishments of the Obama administration.

Two weeks from today, the automaker will report November sales figures, and it is safe to say a lot of investors will be watching closely.

GM celebrated its 102nd birthday in September.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.


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Ted Reed