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Moody's downgrades General Electric a notch

NEW YORK - Moody's Investors Service has downgraded its credit rating on General Electric Co. (GE) by a notch.

The ratings agency says it lowered the rating because it sees risks associated with GE's lending unit, General Electric Capital Corp. It says the company's industrial businesses are strong.

Moody's said in a report Tuesday that, because of GE Capital's large size, it must rely on funding from financial markets. The agency noted those markets were not reliable during the recent credit crisis.

GE was cut to Aa3, Moody's fourth-highest investment-grade rating. It had been rated Aa2.

The agency also lowered GE Capital's rating by two notches to A1 from Aa2.

Fairfield, Conn.-based GE makes products ranging from jet engines to light bulbs and finances projects around the globe.