The value of GM stock fell during the May 11th, 2020 to May 15th, 2020 timeframe. Shares closed the week at $22.63 per share, which represents a decrease of $1.30 per share, or more than 5 percent, compared to last week’s closing value of $23.93.
Movement & Ranges
By comparison, shares of GM’s cross-town rival, the Ford Motor Company, decreased $0.34 per share, or over 6 percent, during the same timeframe.
GM Stock Factors
While it’s not surprising, this week’s drop in GM stock value is a bit deflating following last week’s rebound, which in turn came after three consecutive weeks of declines. The rebound the week before this one was primarily due to two factors reported that week:
- GM reporting a profit for Q1 2020; it was the only American automaker to post a profit during the first quarter of 2020, outperforming expectations
- News of GM’s U.S. assembly plants being scheduled to restart production on May 18th
However, the decline in GM stock values this week reflects a lack of investor confidence that everything will go back to normal once production does resume. Indeed, the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has caused significant amounts of negative disruption and instability for GM as well as for other automakers. As a result, GM stock has shed roughly half of its value so far this year – as it opened the year at $37.38 per share. The significant decline is believed to be a direct result of idled production in North America as a result of the pandemic.
GM During COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic initially forced GM to idle production across North America, South America and China as a result of the virus, putting the firm in a very unfavorable position. During such a scenario, an automaker sees revenues fall sharply while rapidly burning through cash, resulting in a loss-making turn of events. Since the beginning of the pandemic, GM production in China has resumed while production across North America will resume on May 18th, as we mentioned previously.
GM has taken major steps to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, with the actions primarily revolving around fortifying its balance sheet. These moves entail reducing and/or deferring expenses, while shoring up cash and other forms of liquidity.
In March, GM drew down $16 billion in credit to cope with impacts of the virus. Shortly thereafter, GM boosted its cash reserves by $4 billion after taking several other actions to bolster its balance sheet and available credit. In late April, the Detroit-based automaker extended its $4 billion, 3-year credit line by $3.6 billion. The automaker also extended its $2 billion, 364-day revolving credit line to April 2021, with that extension reserved exclusively for GM Financial, General Motors’ captive finance arm. Most recently, GM issued $4 billion in unsecured notes.
GM has also suspended its quarterly common stock dividend while also pausing its voluntary share repurchase program.
During this time, GM has been producing face masks and respirators to help medical workers and patients fight the virus.
GM Before COVID-19
It’s worth noting that GM share values were experiencing ongoing ups and down since mid-2018, long before coronavirus complications, though shares never dipped to the levels observed in the first quarter of 2020.
For the most part, GM stock was in limbo throughout 2019, seeing a jump in value as a result of overwhelmingly positive Q2 2019 earnings, wherein the automaker outperformed expectations. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, several factors negatively impacted GM stock price during 2019, including:
- A UAW labor strike that lasted 40 days, resulting in no vehicles being built in the United States during that timeframe. Production was also idled in other countries as a result of supply chain-related issues caused by the UAW strike.
- Warning signs of an economic slowdown.
- Escalations with a trade war with China.
Over the last few years, GM has taken many steps to increase the value of its stock, including exiting markets where it can’t find ways to turn a profit (such as Europe, South Africa and India), closing plants in various parts of the world, divesting loss-making divisions (such as Opel-Vauxhall), making adjustments to its business model in order to prioritize profitability over chasing market-share goals, focusing on its Cadillac luxury brand to increase its share of high-profit automobiles, investing heavily into new-age mobility ventures such as electric vehicles and autonomous driving tech, while discontinuing some sedans (Cruze, Volt, Impala, LaCrosse, XTS, CT6) and closing various plants to focus on more profitable crossovers, SUVs and pickup trucks, such as the all-new 2021 Cadillac Escalade that was unveiled on February 4th.
Seeking to further minimize activities in unprofitable markets, General Motors also announced its intention to phase out the Holden brand in Australia and New Zealand, in addition to pulling the Chevrolet brand out of Thailand while selling the GM Rayong Manufacturing Complex to Great Wall Motors. In addition, GM recently announced its decision to shut down its Maven car-sharing service.
Despite these actions, the value of GM stock has historically struggled to surpass the $40 mark, spending most of its time in the $33-$38 per share range (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic). The chain of events is problematic given that the “new GM” had its Initial Public Offering (IPO) at $33 per share in November 2010, causing frustration upon many investors.
We remain interested in seeing how GM stock performs through the summer of 2020, especially following the COVID-19 crisis. The refresh of many 2021 models will be delayed, including the Cadillac XT4, Chevrolet Traverse, Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, and Chevrolet Bolt EV. In fact, the overall roll-out plan for most GM products has been pushed back, which also includes the launch of the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing models.
That said, there are still some good things happening for GM in 2020, including a 27 percent growth in Silverado sales during Q1 2020 and strong Chevrolet Blazer sales. The retooling of the GM Arlington assembly plant in Texas is under way, and the company’s redesigned line of full-size SUVs will start shipping in June.