Though the point may seem horribly obvious to most, it bears remarking on this historic Monday:
stock is now completely worthless.
Yes, it's true that GM shares are still changing hands on the
New York Stock Exchange
, several hours after the fallen auto giant filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. And it is also true that the market appears to be valuing those shares at around 90 cents apiece, and that the price has shot higher by as much as 20% Monday on circuit-blowing volume of 210 million shares.
But the bounce is likely the result of short sellers -- many of them large institutions and hedge funds -- cashing in on GM's final wipe out. These are professionals, attempting to scrape the last few pennies they can from a dying stock. For anyone else, to buy now, as the stock takes its last gasp, would be the equivalent of emailing away your bank-account number so as to receive a large, unclaimed sum of money from an account in Lagos.
The NYSE will soon delist GM stock (it will be removed from the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
on June 8). And after much of the old company is sold at fire-sale prices via the Chapter 11 work out -- after bondholders, loan holders, unions and other creditors pick over the corpse -- equity stock holders will almost assuredly be left with zilch.
Then, once a smaller, leaner and hopefully more promising "new GM" emerges on other side, fresh shares will likely be sold to the public, rendering the paper the current shares are printed on fit only for the recycling bin -- or, perhaps, the scrap book.
Copyright 2009 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.