CANADA STOCKS-TSX slips as oil eases, investors brace for U.S. rate hike

March 19 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Monday, led by the materials and energy sectors as oil prices slipped, and investors were cautious ahead of a near-certain U.S. interest rate hike this week.

* At 9:48 a.m. ET (1348 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index fell 57.83 points, or 0.37 percent, to 15,653.5.

** Oil prices eased on Monday after rallying at the end of last week, but tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran helped limit losses.

* The TSX posted no new 52-week highs and one new low. Across all Canadian issues there were 6 new 52-week highs and 8 new lows.

* The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Canopy Growth Co, which rose 3.4 percent, while the largest decliner was First Quantum Min, down 3.3 percent.

* Among the most active Canadian stocks by volume were Neovasc Inc, up 2.9 percent at $0.18; Klondex Mines , up 66.7 percent at $11.07.

** Gold miner Klondex was up after U.S. miner Hecla Mining Co said it would buy the company in a $462 mln cash-and-stock deal.

* Volume on the TSX index was 17.83 million shares, while total volume on Monday was 33.64 million shares. (Reporting by Ankur Banerjee and Medha Singh in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)