Wall Street Stocks Soar After Warm GM Welcome

GM stocks closed at $34, up 3% from GM's initial sale price, but below session highs of $35.60 a share.

Wall Street on Nov. 18 closed with strong gains after the successful return of General Motors to the stock exchange. The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 171.53 points (1.56%) to 11,179.41 in closing trades. The S&P 500 index, a broader measure of the market, gained 18.06 points (1.53%) to 1,196.65.

The tech-rich Nasdaq was up 38.39 points (1.55%) at 2,514.40.

The trading day started in celebratory mode as General Motor shares were once again traded nearly 18 months after the government-controlled largest U.S. automaker filed for bankruptcy protection following an almost $50 billion taxpayer bailout.

GM stocks closed at $34, up 3% from GM's initial sale price, but below session highs of $35.60 a share.

The company was set to garner at least $23.1 billion in what would be the biggest initial public offering (IPO) in U.S. history.

"It is crazy. It's exciting," GM chief executive Dan Akerson told CNBC minutes after GM stocks started trading once again under the historic ticker GM.

The sale could reduce the U.S. government stake in the automaker to 33%, from almost 61%.

A sharp jump in the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's index of business activity index further bolstered confidence.

"A successful IPO of General Motors and a much larger-than-anticipated increase in the Philly Fed Manufacturing Index are helping extend optimism from eased euro-area sovereign debt fears," said analysts at Charles Schwab.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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