CANADA STOCKS-TSX drops sharply, energy leads fall
* Lower oil prices play key role in Toronto index slide
* Weak economic data weighs on investor sentiment
* Drop follows Wednesday's 3 percent gain (Adds details)
By Frank Pingue
TORONTO, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was sharply lower on Thursday morning as weaker oil prices weighed on the resource-heavy index while the latest batch of economic data showed further signs of a deteriorating Canadian economy.
The energy sector led the broad decline as the price of oil, a key Canadian export, turned lower and hit the shares of Canadian oil companies.
Also, data showed retail sales suffered their steepest drop in nearly 11 years in November, another in a long line of economic reports documenting the economy's downward spiral.
Among the key stocks falling were EnCana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote), Canada's biggest energy company, which was down 3 percent at C$53.55, and insurer Manulife Financial MFC.TO, which fell 6.5 percent to to C$20.23.
"We had a runup yesterday in the market and we are just reversing that because the reality is there is still a lot of bad news to come out," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier. Continued...