* TSX index up 41.51 points, or 0.31 pct, at 13,489.21 * Volume light, trading to end early By Cameron French TORONTO, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was higher in an abbreviated session on Tuesday as stronger metals prices and a pair of deals buoyed mining stocks, while the broader market was helped by strong U.S. economic data. Base metals miner Sherritt International surged 8.6 percent to C$3.67 after the company said it would sell its coal business for C$946 million. Kyrgyzstan-focused miner Centerra Gold charged ahead 8.8 percent to C$4.32 after it said it had agreed to swap the Kyrgyz government's 32.7 percent stake in the company for half of Centerra's flagship Kumtor mine, raising hopes that it could end long-standing friction over the mine's ownership. Those deals, along with steady gold prices and firmer copper, drove the TSX's mining-heavy materials subgroup up 0.95 percent, making it the strongest performing sector on the index. All told, eight of the benchmark index's 10 subgroups were stronger. With volumes light ahead of an early 1 p.m. (1800 GMT) market close, investors took their cue from stronger-than-expected U.S. durable goods orders data , the latest in a string of positive reports that have raised hopes for robust economic growth in 2014. "It's signaling what we've been seeing out of economic reports for the last several months, which is that not only are the Canadian and U.S. economies improving but the global economies are starting to get a little more footing," said Craig Fehr, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones. The financials subgroup was up 0.27 percent, with life insurers leading the way. Sun Life Financial was up 0.6 percent at C$37.24, while Manulife Financial was up 0.5 percent at C$20.85. About 45 minutes into the session, the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 41.51 points, or 0.31 percent, at 13,489.21. In addition to the early close on Tuesday, the exchange will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday for the Christmas and Boxing Day holidays.