updated 6/27/2005 10:51:45 AM ET 2005-06-27T14:51:45

General Motors Corp. has indefinitely forbidden most senior executives and other employees with access to internal financial information from buying or selling company stock, according to a published report.

The world's largest automaker also reportedly has moved to limit the disclosure of such information.

The move follows GM's decision to suspend profit guidance to Wall Street in April, citing "the uncertainty affecting key elements of our financial forecast, such as resolution of the health-care cost crisis."

The ban is meant to keep GM insiders from inadvertently conducting illegal insider trading based on information that is not publicly available, The Detroit News reported Monday.

"It's more restricted than usual due to the fact that we are no longer providing earnings guidance," GM spokeswoman Tony Simonetti told the newspaper. The ban, she said, is "really intended for any employee at any level that has access to internal material data, like earnings forecasts."

The newspaper said it was unclear how many people the ban affects or how long it will last.

GM lost $1.1 billion (euro910 million) in the first quarter. The automaker said the cost of providing health coverage for its workers and retirees was one of the major reasons for its largest quarterly loss in more than a decade.

In an e-mail detailing the stock trading ban to 400 high-level executives, GM also urged the managers to limit key information to "only those who need to know," Simonetti said. The goal is "to shrink the pool of people who have access to this type of information and not to create an insider, if possible."

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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