UPDATE 1-Toronto stock index turns positive, but gold drags

Fri Oct 17, 2008 10:05am EDT
 
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* Materials sector weighs as gold price falls below $800

* Index unwinds 200-point loss at the open (Adds details)

TORONTO Oct 17 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index turned positive on Friday morning after dropping 200 points just after the open but the rise was tenuous as the materials sector dragged.

Gold eased below $800 per ounce, extending the previous session's 5 percent drop, as renewed U.S. dollar strength weighed on prices [ID:nLH657568].

The materials group, which includes miners, was off 1.6 percent. The gold subindex was down 2.3 percent, as Goldcorp lost 4.8 percent to C$23.57.

Shortly after 9:50 a.m. (1350 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 42.03 points, or 0.45 percent, at 9,312.00. Seven of the index's main groups were higher.

The energy group, which has been under pressure most of the week, eked out a 1.26 percent gain as oil recovered from a 16-month low and rose above $70 a barrel. [ID:nN16417066] ($1=$1.19 Canadian) (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; Editing by Frank McGurty)