Despite a selling mood that's swept the Street today, General Motors shares are up more than 1% after GMAC Financial Services said it's exploring the sale of parts of its home-lending division, Residential Capital LLC. The Wall Street Journal reports that GMAC could acquire a non-U.S.-based lender and merge it with ResCap's mortgage business. Additionally, ResCap initiated a cash tender offer for up to $750 million of its debt securities to ensure it complies with its debt covenants. ResCap is partly owned by GM.
GM's ResCap investment has proved costly for the blue-chip automaker the home lender suffered a heavy third-quarter loss on mortgage-related weakness. Due to ResCap's outsized exposure to the subprime market, GM was forced to inject $1 billion in equity during the first quarter to help maintain liquidity.
Bearish sentiment is on the rise toward GM; its Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio is 1.80, ranking higher than 70% of other such readings taken during the past year. Meanwhile, bears have sold more than 11% of the stock's available float short as they bet on a continued decline in the equity. This rising pessimism seems to be warranted; the shares of GM are poised to finish the month south of their 20-month moving average for the first time since May 2006.