) -- Global fears are taking their toll on many stocks that deserve better, among them the world's largest automobile manufacturer.
shares fell below $20 for the first time, hitting $19.77 before rebounding to $20.56, up 32 cents. The shares began trading in November after an initial public offering at $35 and began 2011 at $37.32. For the full year, GM shares are down 44%, while
shares are down 42%.
Many analysts, including Efraim Levy of S&P Capital IQ, have long believed investors are
not seeing GM's value.
"We think that GM is very undervalued," Levy said, in an interview. "The market is overly pessimistic about future demand for vehicles."
As for nearing $20, "It's a nice round number, but it has no significance," Levy said, adding, "When the shares were around $30, there wasn't as much chatter." Levy has a strong buy and a $40 price target.
Ironically, GM's decline to $20 comes during a week of good news for the company. Late on Sept. 16, GM reached a tentative contract agreement with the United Auto Workers that appears to benefit both sides: ratification voting began this Friday.
announced Thursday that it is reviewing GM credit for a possible upgrade. Also Thursday, J.D. Power said that early indications are that
September auto sales are strong.
In three recent reports, analysts counted the tentative contract agreement as a plus. The deal "preserves the leverage we see to an eventual demand recovery," wrote Deutsche Bank analyst Rod Lache, who has a buy on the stock and a price target of $36.50.
Credit Suisse analyst Chris Ceraso said the agreement is "relatively benign from a GM standpoint" and called it "a win-win." The UAW has said
its principal interests included more jobs, which it got. Ceraso has a buy on the shares and a $42 price target.
At Morgan Stanley, GM is on the firm's "Best Idea" list. Analyst Adam Jones said both GM and Ford are "attractive from a risk-reward standpoint, (but) in the face of increasing macro uncertainty, we talk to few investors willing to take the plunge."
-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.
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