* TSX down 41.21 points, or 0.38 percent, at 10,789.97
* Bank and gold shares biggest drag on index (Adds details, quotes)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index closed lower on Monday after four straight gaining sessions, as gold miners retreated on lower bullion prices and financials sagged ahead of quarterly results from the country’s banks.
Among the most influential movers on the downside were Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) off 3.6 percent at C$49.01, and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), which fell 1.1 percent to C$50.70. The broader financial sector fell 0.7 percent.
There are “jitters” ahead of bank earnings this week, which kick off when Bank of Montreal reports results on Tuesday, said Francis Campeau, a broker at MF Global Canada in Montreal.
“They had a good run. People want to protect recent gains and they might come back into the market after the numbers,” Campeau said.
The financial sector is .SPTTFS up about 80 percent from early March.
Virtually nobody sees Canadian banks rattling investors with big losses when they start reporting third-quarter earnings. Profits are likely to come in between 10 percent and 16 percent lower, a result that investors are expected to take in stride, given the economic climate. [ID:nN2165076]
However, analysts say below the surface the banks could show some signs of wear and tear.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished the day down 41.21 points, or 0.38 percent, at 10,789.97, with seven of its 10 main groups lower. Earlier, it had risen 72 points, in part, on firm oil prices. The big energy sector climbed 0.4 percent.
The market kicked off the week in an upbeat mood as reassurances from the world’s central bankers spurred optimism about the economic recovery.
Global bankers, gathered at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, over the weekend, said the global recession was nearing a close, although it would be a long, slow climb back to normal growth. [ID:nN23121486]
But caution ahead of the bank earnings this week kicked in, said Sal Masionis, stockbroker at Brant Securities, dragging the index lower by early afternoon.
“The main thing is what writeoffs they’re taking and how does it look for the next quarter,” he said.
Another source of weakness for the TSX came from the materials sector, home to miners and fertilizer companies, as the price of gold slid below $945 an ounce on pressure from a firmer U.S. dollar. [ID:nN24160851]
Shares of Kinross Gold (K.TO) fell 1.5 percent to C$20.67, while Goldcorp (G.TO) sank 1.3 percent to C$38.35.
Research In Motion RIM.TO also weighed on the broader market, slipping 1.9 percent at C$82.15. The broader information technology sector was down 2.3 percent.
The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed 3.28 points lower, or 0.5 percent, at 648.54.
($1=$1.08 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson)