Updated from 1:44 p.m. EDT
I wish I could cheer the sad story of GM and embrace the leaner, more efficient and competitive future. Maybe I should be more like Wall Street. Really bothered by it, you know? You can tell, what with the Dow being up more than 200 points. GM, which has only a few days left in the index, was gaining 14 cents at 89 cents. I guess it makes sense to send equity that's about to vanish out on a high note, so good luck to all the buyers out there. Good luck to all of us, really. Our tax dollars are funding a large part of this brighter day, so we do have an interest in seeing this company fixed. Now, I understand that GM's gigantic cost structure, especially during a deep recession, couldn't be sustained forever, but forgive me if I struggle to find many winners in this situation. Earlier this year I said that pretty much everybody involved, shareholders, auto workers, retirees and taxpayers, had the potential to lose big. Fine, not everyone at the company has been laid off in the last five years. Is that the good news? I know. We have to move forward, not backward, and being nostalgic about the quintessential American manufacturing company is a waste of time. Don't forget though that GM still has to figure out a way to sell cars after it gets out of the court system. For the record, the other stock that doesn't have much time left in the Dow, Citigroup ( C), was down a penny at $3.71.
Pretty much everyone expected the first one considering GM finally sought bankruptcy protection after basically the most telegraphed filing in history. The second was a bit more of a surprise, but only because you could probably argue it was overdue, considering the government's stake in Citi and the fact that the bank's shares have been flattened by the banking crisis. Almost looked like Citi was going to stay in the club. As noted last week, GM has been part of the DJIA continuously since 1925. The last change came in September when Kraft ( KFT) replaced another troubled company, AIG ( AIG). In case you're wondering, the market isn't worrying much about GM. Futures say that stocks should open higher in New York.