TSX falls for fourth straight day as global jitters weigh

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell for the fourth straight day on Monday, hitting a nearly three-week low as global jitters about whether Britain will vote to leave the European Union weighed, but losses were restrained by gains in resource stocks.

A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014. Canada's main stock index was little changed on Monday as weakness in financial and energy shares offset gains in the materials sector. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Financial stocks fell in line with Asian and European shares as investors worried that a “Brexit” could tip Europe back into recession and as core sovereign debt yields declined.

Lower bond yields hurt margins for the banks and raise the value of long-term liabilities held by insurance companies, said Steve Belisle, senior portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management.

Bank of Montreal BMO.TO declined 0.7 percent to C$82.52, while Brookfield Asset Management BAMa.TO slipped 3.9 percent at C$43.81.

Selling by exchange traded funds weighed on Brookfield’s shares following recent changes to the company’s index classification, said Belisle.

The overall financials group fell 0.5 percent, while industrial stocks dropped 0.9 percent, including losses for railway stocks. The telecommunications group declined 1.2 percent.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 43.66 points, or 0.31 percent, at 13,993.88. The index hit its lowest since May 24 at 13,958.82.

Eight of the index’s 10 main groups ended lower.

Gold prices reached their highest since mid-May on the back of the fading risk appetite, helping Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO jump 3.6 percent to C$25.90. Fertilizer company Potash Corp POT.TO advanced 1.8 percent to C$22.09.

Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd TRQ.TO advanced 13 percent to C$4.16 after the mining company provided a business update last week.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.8 percent, while spot gold XAU= also rose 0.8 percent. [GOL/]

The energy group edged 0.1 percent higher despite lower oil prices. U.S. crude CLc1 prices settled down 19 cents at $48.88 a barrel. [O/R]

Penn West Petroleum Ltd PWT.TO soared 38.8 percent to C$1.61 as multiple brokerages upped their target prices on the company after it said it would sell its Saskatchewan assets for $975 million on Friday.

Shares of TransCanada Corp TRP.TO firmed 0.4 percent after the pipeline operator said it will build and operate a $2.1 billion natural gas pipeline in Mexico, as the company continues to ramp up its presence in the Latin American country's large gas market.

Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Diane Craft