March 26 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index advanced on Tuesday, led by sharp gains in energy stocks as oil prices rose above $68 a barrel on OPEC supply cuts and expectations of lower U.S. inventories.
* At 9:38 a.m. ET (1338 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 97.58 points, or 0.61 percent, at 16,163.44.
* Of the 11 major TSX sectors, the energy sector’s 1.8 percent climb was the steepest.
* U.S. crude prices were up 2.1 percent a barrel, while Brent crude added 1.3 percent.
* The financials sector gained 0.5 percent, while the industrials sector rose 0.8 percent.
* The materials stocks, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, dipped 0.1 percent and were the only laggards on the index.
* Spot gold fell 0.4 percent to $1316.31 an ounce.
* On the TSX, 194 issues were higher, while 42 issues declined for a 4.62-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 15.26 million shares traded.
* The biggest percentage gainers on the TSX were Baytex Energy Corp and Compass Group PLC, rising 4.7 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively.
* Ivanhoe Mines Ltd fell 2.2 percent, the most on the TSX. The second-biggest decliner was Yamana Gold Inc , down 2.2 percent.
* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Rexnord Corp , Aurora Cannabis Inc and Black Knight Inc .
* The TSX posted 15 new 52-week highs and no new low.
* Across all Canadian issues, there were 34 new 52-week highs and one new low, with total volume of 27.45 million shares. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)