* Golds support materials sector
* Goldcorp, Kinross announce higher output plans
* Teck Cominco to cut 1,400 jobs, stock falls 4 pct
* Energy turns positive despite crude price fall (Updates prices, adds details and analyst comment)
By Ka Yan Ng
TORONTO, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index edged into positive territory on Thursday midday, with gold miners adding upward momentum on upbeat production forecasts and as gold prices climbed on safe-haven buying.
The heavily weighted materials group, which includes gold miners, advanced 1.07 percent. The gold price rose more than 2 percent in a rally sparked by a weaker greenback as the U.S. deficit is expected to balloon on proposed economic stimulus packages aimed at lifting the economy from recession.
“Gold is a very good refuge and safe haven,” said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada.
“It appears that in the sea of red ink, the printing of money, will eventually have inflationary implications and the U.S. dollar has come under pressure. The U.S. dollar is expected to come under more pressure and that is always good for gold,” Ing said.
At 11:38 a.m. (1638 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 2.32 points at 9,123.64, clawing back from a drop of more than 1 percent shortly after the open.
The gold sector was also lifted by news from two miners announcing healthy production increases.
Goldcorp (G.TO) rose 0.55 percent to C$33.18 after it forecast this year’s production would match 2008 levels and announced plans for a 50 percent jump in output over the next five years. [ID:nN08526827]
Kinross Gold (K.TO) said late Wednesday it plans to spend $460 million this year boosting production by 32 percent, to as much as 2.5 million ounces. Kinross rose 3.3 percent to C$20.95.
Teck Cominco TCKb.TO was on the downside in the materials group, down nearly 4 percent at C$7.30, as the diversified miner said it will cut 1,400 jobs as part of its plan to clip costs. [ID:nN08524937]
Five of the TSX’s 10 main sectors were in positive territory, including the heavily weighted financial and energy groups. Healthcare and industrials were also on the rise.
The oil group rose 0.41 percent despite the sliding price of crude, which fell to around $41 a barrel, adding to a 12 percent drop on Wednesday, weighed down by mixed U.S. jobless data and higher than expected crude stocks.
$1=$1.19 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Rob Wilson