When we last checked the status of the federal government's stake in General Motors in September, it owned about 7.3 percent - roughly 101-million shares worth about $3.7 billion - of the automaker. In October, the Fed sold almost a third of its remaining stake, or 29- to 30-million shares valued at about $1.2 billion, The Detroit News reports. Currently the government owns around 71-million shares.

Before the latest sale, the Treasury had recorded a loss of about $9.7 billion on 811 million of the 912-million shares it bought from GM as part of the company's 2009 bailout. So far, the Treasury has recovered $37.2 billion from the loan, with another $2.5 billion or so to be gained from the sale of the remaining 71-million shares.

It's likely the government - and taxpayers - won't be paid back in full for its help in keeping GM afloat, but, of course, the bailout was enacted to save jobs and help stabilize the economy regardless of whether the loan was paid back in full or not.

If the government continues to sell its stake in GM at a rate of about 20- to 25-million shares a month, it could sell off its remaining GM shares by the end of January - well before its goal of exiting GM by March 2014.

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