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All of General Motors' top brass were in person on Wall Street this morning to witness the company's return to public life. In fact, GM took over the New York Stock Exchange with a giant banner hung on the outside of the building and the revving engine of a Chevrolet Camaro SS accompanying the traditional morning bell that opens trading at 9:30 AM. Follow the jump to watch a short video of the bell-ringing/engine-revving from the show floor.

As soon as that Camaro came to life, shares of GM – given the simple stock symbol of 'GM' on the exchange – jumped up sharply from the initial IPO price of $33. They quickly hit a high of $35.99, fell a bit and are again trending upward at $35.33 at the time of this writing (Follow GM's stock in real time here at Daily Finance). To put that in perspective, GM stock traded for less than a dollar back in 2009 before the company filed for bankruptcy.

What effect does today have on the U.S. government's role in GM's future? For starters, the federal Treasury is selling off more than 400 million shares of GM, reducing its stake in the company from 61 percent to 33 percent. Reports estimate that in order for the government to break even, its remaining shares would have to be sold for an average of around $50.

Given the excitement surrounding today's historic event, which could ultimately turn out to be the largest IPO in history, and the sharp jump in share price this morning, the U.S. government breaking even on the bailing out of General Motors seems more possible today than ever before.

Stay tuned for more updates on the stock's performance throughout the day on our Twitter feed, as well as an end of day report on where it closes.

[Source: Associated Press]