The next step in the US Treasury's efforts to eliminate its financial interests in General Motors will involve the sale of 30 million shares of the automaker's stock. The government's move to divest itself of GM is all part of a larger plan to sell the remaining 300 million shares of stock it received in compensation for the 2009 bailout of the then-failing automaker. The US Treasury plans to sell off all remaining stock – around 18-percent of GM – by early next year, yet this 30 million share sell-off, which may happen today, is a much smaller divestment than the 200-million shares it sold back to GM in December for $5.5 billion. The United Auto Workers, whose retiree medical trust also owns a large chunk of The General, will also sell off 20 million shares in this latest offering.

According to The New York Times, the sale is timed in tandem with GM's return to Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, a mental milestone of sorts that many investors believe will help improve the company's under-performing stock. GM is taking the spot on the S&P 500 formerly occupied by H.J. Heinz, the Pittsburg-based food conglomerate that has gone private thanks to investment by Berkshire Hathaway and investment firm 3G Capital.

At the time of this writing, GM stock is trading at $34.04 a share, a little above its initial public offering price of $33 back in November 2010.

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