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On Wall Street, GM is now worth less than GameStop

By the stock market’s reckoning, General Motors Corp. now is a less-significant business than Starbucks Corp., Gap Inc. or computer game retailer GameStop Corp.

That’s just to name a few.

With oil’s levitation act continuing, Wall Street today hammered down GM’s shares for the eighth time in nine sessions -- to a price last seen in the early 1980s.

Gmhq The stock closed at $12.91, down 6.4% from $13.79 on Friday. The price has fallen by nearly half just since Jan. 1.

What’s truly humbling for GM shareholders, or for anyone who sympathizes with the company’s plight, is to look at how little the market believes the largest U.S. car maker is worth relative to other businesses of arguably far less importance to the American economy.

GM’s total stock market capitalization -- its stock price times the number of shares outstanding -- now stands at a mere $7.3 billion, down from $14.1 billion at the start of the year.

Starbucks, like GM and many other consumer-oriented companies, also is having a tough year. But the latte king’s market capitalization, unlike GM’s, still has two digits before the decimal point: Starbucks’ shares are worth $11.9 billion in all.

Retailer Gap has been a lousy stock to own for the last five years as the company’s sales have flattened (oh no -- not those crazy-striped scarves again!), but Wall Street still gives it a market cap of $12.2 billion.

GameStop, an up-and-comer in the retail business, now has up and blown by GM. GameStop’s market cap is nearly $7.5 billion.

GM has for years been valued at a sliver of what most of its Dow Jones industrial average peers are worth. You could fit nearly 17 GM’s in Coca-Cola’s $124-billion market cap, for example. But GM worth less than GameStop? Less than Hershey Co.? Less than tax software maker Intuit Inc.?

GM has come back from the near-dead before, and may again. What stock valuations are telling us, however, is that many investors who are looking to the future see Starbucks, GameStop and Hershey in it –- but they aren’t at all sure about GM.

Photo: Big building, small market cap: GM's headquarters in Detroit. Carlos Osorio / Associated Press

 
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