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US sells Citi stake for profit

The last of the US Treasury’s shares of Citigroup Inc sold at $10.5 billion. This means taxpayers will reap a profit of $12 billion on their $45 billion cash investment in Citigroup. It also allows the bank to shake its reputation as a ward of the state.

James Angel, a finance professor at Georgetown University said: “It signals the company has been fully privatized and that their parole is over.”

Last year, the Treasury intended to sell off their 7.7 billion shares steadily over the course of six to 12 months, but had only sold 4.4 billion by October. The results of the November elections seemed to express discontent with government involvement in private business. As a result, the Treasury has increased its speed in selling off its 61% stake in General Motors.

The government still holds $3 billion in Citigroup stock.


Electric car hubbub-What you need to know

While everyone seems to be lauding the advent of the electric car (the bid for the first Chevy Volt is reportedly up to $180,000), the cost of the electric car is being underrated. Before you start adding up the numbers at the tank, don’t forget about the cost of charging the battery of your electric car.

Electric car operating costs are translated into an mpg equivalent, or MPGe, using individual states’ electricity costs as calculated by the U.S. Department of Energy. Electric cars’ upstream carbon dioxide emissions are also calculated using DOE data on the electricity source for each state.

According to, Washington, Idaho, Kentucky, West Virginia and Arkansas are the states with the lowest electricity rates, making electric cars most economical on a cost-per-mile basis. Vermont, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and New Hampshire are the best states in terms of electric cars’ lowest upstream CO2 emissions per kilowatt-hour.

According to a recent survey by Kelley Blue Book, only 7 percent of shoppers said they are likely to buy or lease an electric vehicle for their next new vehicle purchase.

More than 80 percent of survey respondents said they were concerned about electric vehicles’ range on a single charge and the availability of charging stations.

Kelley Blue Book found that 91 percent of car shoppers think electric vehicles are expensive and 43 percent think electric vehicles won’t retain their value as well as regular gas vehicles.

One problem is being addressed. Cracker Barrel announced they will be on the forefront of building electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the country.

The plan is to install chargers at 24 of their Tennessee stores, including locations at Cookeville, Lebanon, Manchester, Murfreesboro, and in Nashville at Stewart’s Ferry Pike. A dozen of them will have the so-called fast chargers which provide an 80-percent charge in 30 minutes.

On the West Hargett Street sidewalk, next to parking spaces 101 and 102, are two reassuring signs that Raleigh will be ready for a new wave of mass-market cars that can run without a drop of petroleum.

Two electric-car charging stations were installed there last week, in front of the Raleigh Municipal Building. And, who pays for that charging station? Why, the tax payers, of course.

GM to list on NYSE, TSX

Now that GM is turning a profit, it plans a triumphant return to the New York Stock Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange after its initial public offering.

The IPO, intended to repay a portion of the automaker’s government bailout, has been dubbed “Project Dawn,” said the source, who declined to be named because preparations for the IPO remain private.

Before its 2009 bankruptcy, GM shares traded on the New York Stock exchange, and its return had been widely expected as the automaker begins to distance itself from its government-led restructuring and attracts private investors. Adding a stock listing in Toronto would underscore the role that the governments of Canada and Ontario played as junior partners to the U.S. Treasury in keeping GM from liquidation in bankruptcy.

The number of shares to be sold by the U.S. government, the governments of Canada and Ontario, the United Auto Workers union healthcare trust and other shareholders has not been determined. GM is not expected to issue new common stock in the IPO but plans to sell about $3 billion in mandatory convertible securities that convert into shares in the future

Chevy Volt will have limited release

Recently, GM started turning a profit for the first time since 2007. It seems they’re trying to keep the ball rolling with the Chevy Volt.

GM will begin sales of its electric car at the end of the year. But, only 10,000 are set to roll of the line. To put that into perspective, GM sold 21,000 Malibus last month alone. In 2012, GM plans on increasing the production of the Volt to 30,000.

When the Volt was revealed as a concept car in 2007, a list was created on the Internet for potential buyers, sign here if you’d buy one. According to reports, the list is up to 53,000 names. But, putting your name on a list is not the same as dropping the cash for the car. GM spokesman Rob Peterson says that demand will almost certainly be higher than production.

Distribution will be in six states and Washington, D.C.

Dealers are preparing for servicing the new cars. The Volt comes with an updated OnStar system. Dealers are prepared to deal with calls addressing issues they’ve never heard before.

Nissan will release its Leaf, an electric car with a 100 mile range, to compete with the Volt. Nissan plans on producing 25,000.

While a price has not been set, dealers are taking deposits already. The expected price is around $40,000, which hits $32,000 after federal taxes credits for electric cars.

GM: back in black

General Motors has turned a profit in the first three months of this year. In honor of this achievement, you should blast AC/DC’s “Back in Black” from your stereo. This is the first time GM has made a profit since 2007.

GM emerged from bankruptcy last July. They earned $865 million with revenue at $31.5 billion. Last year, they lost $6 billion. Part of GM’s success has to do with Toyota’s problems. Ford Motors and Toyota earned more over the same period.

The International Operations unit deserves some of the credit, as the international sales rose 45% from last year. CFO Chris Liddell is hopeful that GM will remain profitable for the full year.

GM repaid its government loans in April, but the Treasury has a 61% stake in the automaker. Thus, strong earnings must continue in order for the government to receive everything back.

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