March 18 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index gained on Monday, helped by gains in energy shares on the back of higher crude prices.
* The energy sector edged up 0.6 percent, as oil gained on the prospect of prolonged OPEC-led oil supply curbs.
* At 9:45 a.m. ET (13:45 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 53.91 points, or 0.33 percent, at 16,194.26.
* The Canadian dollar was little changed against its U.S. counterpart, trading in a narrow range ahead of Tuesday’s federal budget, as oil prices rose and investors bet that the U.S. Federal Reserve will strike a dovish tone this week.
* The Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting begins on Tuesday, where the central bank is widely expected to stick to its pledge of a “patient” approach to monetary policy.
* The interest rate sensitive financials sector gained 0.5 percent, the most among the seven major sectors trading higher.
* On the TSX, 158 issues were higher, while 77 issues declined for a 2.05-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with traded volume touching 23.66 million shares.
* The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Hexo Corp , which rose 4.7 percent after brokerage Cormark Securities upgraded stock to “buy” from “speculative buy”.
* Transalta Corp, the second biggest gainer on the main index, rose 4 percent.
* Westshore Terminals Investment Corp fell 3.9 percent, the most on the TSX, after brokerage BMO cut its price target on stock. The second biggest decliner was Knight Therapeut, down 3.4 percent after Cormark Securities lowered its price target on stock.
* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Aurora Cannabis, Hexo Corp and Manulife Financial Corp.
* The TSX posted five new 52-week highs and two new lows.
* Across all Canadian issues, there were 49 new 52-week highs and four new lows, with total volume touching 36.28 million shares. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel)