UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks hit hard by GE results
(Adds details and analyst comments)
TORONTO, April 11 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock market index dropped sharply on Friday morning as disappointing results from U.S. bellwether General Electric (GE.N: Quote) stoked worries that the U.S. economic slowdown is far from over.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's key S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 166.37 points, or 1.2 percent, at 13,743.21.
All 10 of the TSX index's main groups were lower with the resource-laden materials group down 1.3 percent and the heavily weighted financial group off 1.5 percent.
The market pushed the panic button after GE reported a disappointing first-quarter profit and lowered its earnings forecast for the year, stirring recession fears, as a slowdown in the U.S. economy and the credit crisis hit the company's financial, industrial and health-care units.
"Yes it is a very major U.S. corporation and maybe people are trying to read into it in terms of potential incremental fallout and negativity," said Irwin Michael, a portfolio manager at ABC Funds.
The Toronto market's financial institutions the brunt of the blow.
Canadian insurer Sun Life Financial SLF.TO dropped C$1.50 to C$46.0.0 and Manulife Financial MFC.TO was off C$1.09 at C$38.11.