GE results seen rattling Toronto investors

Fri Apr 11, 2008 9:12am EDT
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TORONTO, April 11 (Reuters) - Disappointing results from U.S. bellwether General Electric GE.N was seen spilling over into the Canadian market as investors worry that the worst of the economy's funk was far from over.

The industrial conglomerate reported a disappointing first-quarter profit and lowered its earnings forecast for the year, stirring recession fears, as a slowdown in the economy and the credit crisis hit the company's financial, industrial and health-care units.

"This is going to be a setback for the U.S. markets and there will be spillover into other markets including Canada," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall and MacTier.

"It's a bellwether company that tends not to miss earnings. They also said visibility is quite low for them ... They are somewhat in the dark."

Investors will also take time to digest a handful of mixed results from some of Canada's biggest media firms.

CanWest Global Communications Corp CGS.TO, Canada's biggest media company, reported a second-quarter loss on Friday, due restructuring expenses and the impact of a lengthy U.S. television writers' strike last year on its Canadian Television unit.

Meanwhile, Shaw Communications Inc SJRb.TO, Canada's No. 2 cable and satellite TV company, said on Friday that second-quarter net profit more than tripled with a C$188 million tax recovery lift and strong subscriber gains.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE begins the day at 13,909.58 after climbing 159 points to rest above levels not seen since the end of February.

Canada's oil firms could see some strength on Friday after Alberta reversed portions of its controversial royalties plan to stem losses of oil and gas exploration.

U.S. crude oil was up 0.2 percent at $110.20 a barrel.

($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Anderson; Editing by Renato Andrade)