GM Stock Suffers More Blows; Jim Cramer Calls It 'Painful'

DETROIT (TheStreet) -- General Motors (GM) shareholders just can't catch a break.  

On, Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported that federal prosecutors are moving toward filing criminal charges against the automaker in connection with a defective ignition switch that's been linked to about 100 deaths in accidents involving Chevrolet Cobalts and other GM cars.

And Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU), approached GM's CEO, Mary Barra, by email about a possible collaboration or merger of the two automakers, only to be told that GM wasn't interested, The New York Times reported over the weekend.

The news about a possible criminal case on the horizon served as just the latest blow to GM shares, which were lower on Tuesday and have remained roughly flat for five years. GM's share price on Tuesday at the market's close was $35.52, having declined .50% for the day. GM's share price has been a frustration for investors who bet that the company would prosper once its balance sheet was relieved of billions in legacy costs through the 2009 bankruptcy and government bailout. The company is still recovering.

Though GM sells only slightly fewer cars than Toyota Motor Corp.  (TM), the industry leader, its stock market value is about a fourth of Toyota's.

"My first question about GM is, Can Mary Barra reverse the decades of underperformance that characterized the old GM?" said Brian Johnson, managing director for Barclays Capital PLC, in an interview.

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