Well how's that for an about-face? It was not even two weeks ago that we were reporting on Warren Buffett's praise for General Motors' CEO Mary Barra and her handling of the ignition switch recall. That hasn't stopped Buffett's company, Berkshire Hathaway from unloading shares during the first quarter of 2014. It's trimmed its shares by 25 percent, to 30 million shares, during the first quarter of 2014.
To be fair, Automotive News reports that Buffett doesn't even own shares in the automaker, and the decision to unload was at the discretion of Berkshire Hathaway's deputy investment manager, Ted Weschler. Still, the sale of such a significant stake is a surprising move, considering Buffett's very public and publicized praise of Barra, as well as his status company's largest shareholder and one of the most respected investors on the planet.
Other institutions have abandoned GM outright, with Greenlight Capital, a New York-based hedge fund unloading the entirety of its shares in the company – 17 million shares valued at $697 million.
GM has been almost constantly troubled in 2014, recalling a record 11.2 million cars during the first four and a half months of the year, with the most recent recall, 2.7 million units, coming yesterday.
Still, there are some investors that see potential in GM. JPMorgan Chase called the company's stock "very inexpensive," with one analyst citing the "proactive nature" of the recalls. The financial powerhouse trimmed GM's forecasted earnings by $200 million, following GM's Thursday announcement, while analyst Ryan Brinkman wrote that GM will still have very strong profit margins, which are "the highest in the cycle and stronger than Ford."