US President Barack Obama lauded the "success story" of General Motors' stock sale as the White House claimed a $787 billion stimulus bill would produce 3.5 million jobs by year-end.
Touting GM’s near-record initial public offering Thursday as validation of his controversial move to bail out the auto giant last year, he said: "A few years ago, this seemed impossible."
The offering, which raised a near-record $20 billion for the auto giant, opened at $35 a share — higher than the $33 a share initially requested by the Treasury Department. That made it one of the largest IPOs in history.
Obama said the news signals that Detroit is "once again on the rise."
"For the first time in six years, Ford, GM and Chrysler are all operating at a profit," he said. In fact, last week, GM announced its best quarter (results) in over 11 years," he said.
Meanwhile, the latest quarterly estimate by the White House Council of Economic Advisers said the stimulus bill has generated or saved between 2.7 million and 3.7 million jobs, and thus "by some measures has exceeded the original goal of creating or saving 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010."
US stocks rose more than 1% on Thursday as GM shares began trading, as also on optimism of a deal to ease Ireland’s debt crisis.
The Canadian government meanwhile said it was selling nearly 20% of its stake in General Motors, 30.5 million shares.
As part of GM's restructuring in 2009, the Canadian and Ontario governments were issued common equity in the new company as well as preferred shares in exchange for financial assistance.