By Cameron French
TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index closed higher in an abbreviated session on Tuesday, led by mining stocks after a pair of deals in that sector and stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data.
Base metals miner Sherritt International jumped 14.8 percent to C$3.88 after the company said it would sell its coal business for C$946 million.
Other base metals miners rallied, helped by higher prices. Molybdenum miner Thompson Creek Metals climbed 7.7 percent to C$2.38.
On the gold side, Agnico-Eagle Mines rose 4.6 percent to C$28.25, while Kyrgyzstan-focused Centerra Gold gained 4.8 percent to C$4.16 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.
All told, the TSX's mining-heavy materials sector, which has been a drag on the broader index this year, surged 2.3 percent, making it the strongest sector on Tuesday.
With volumes light in the shortened pre-holiday session, 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.
"Economic indicators have been fairly good, both in Canada and the U.S.," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.
Nine of the benchmark index's 10 subgroups ended higher.
The financials subgroup rose 0.37 percent. Sun Life Financial climbed 0.9 percent to C$37.34, while Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce advanced 0.7 percent to C$90.24.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index <.GSPTSE> ended the session up 69.89 points, or 0.52 percent, at 13,517.59.
The Toronto exchange will remain closed on Wednesday and Thursday for the Christmas and Boxing Day holidays.
(Reporting by Cameron French; editing by G Crosse and Phil Berlowitz)