General Motors Corp. debt appears to be heading toward junk status, said Edward I. Altman, professor at Stern School of Business, New York University, and an expert on credit markets. Speaking at the "Latest in Equity and Fixed-Income Research" conference in Chicago today, Mr. Altman said, "GM has the profile of a non-investment-grade company. I think it is definitely headed" toward junk-bond status. The Detroit-based company's bonds trade at a yield above 8%, when bonds in their ratings class trade about 200 basis points lower. GM is rated by S&P at BBB-, which is just above junk status. "The auto industry has so much overcapacity. GM has to close plants, but that's going to be very expensive because of legacy costs" such as pensions, Mr. Altman said.