The 2017 Dakar Rally. Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Australian shares closed the session marginally higher and ended the shortened holiday trading week well ahead.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,755.60 +2.25 +0.04%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,809.00 +3.86 +0.07%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7317 -0.0019 -0.26%

The ASX200 broke through the 5700 mark in the first trading week of 2017, hitting 19-month highs and rising by almost 1.6% to Friday’s close.

Today the local market held onto its gains with the banks in positive territory and balancing out falls by the big miners.

The Commonwealth Bank was up by 0.3% to $84.13 but BHP was down 0.5% to $25.50.

Newzulu jumped by two-thirds to $0.005 after the a crowd-sourced video company signed a deal with a Dutch news service, RTL Niuews.

The top stories:

1. It looks less likely that Australia will fall into recession. Australia recorded a surprise trade surplus in November, the first seen since March 2014.

2. Here’s how Citi thinks Christmas went for retailers. The retailers they spoke to were “lukewarm” about Christmas trading with the sales growth modest for most.

3. An Australian biotech has applied to patent the world’s first low-GI sugar. Perth-based Holista CollTech says the new sugar is the result a collaboration with 2017 Nobel Prize nominee and emerging thought leader in carbohydrate chemistry, Daryl Thompson.

4. Ardent’s theme park revenue fell 63% after the Dreamworld deaths. The crowds haven’t come back since the accident which killed four at the Gold Coast theme park. Ardent shares were down 0.4% to close at $2.22.

5. Debt evaporates at Atlas Iron. The miner, which 18 months ago was preparing to shut down as iron ore price sunk, plans to be debt free later this year as strong commodity prices flow through to its bottom line. Its shares closed 14.8% higher at $0.031.

6. Malcolm Turnbull’s former digital tsar says blind faith in data led to the Centrelink debt debacle. Former chief executive of the prime minister’s Digital Transformation Office, Paul Shetler, has criticised Centrelink and the federal government for stopping human reviews of its debt recovery data-matching results.

7. Australia is at risk of being left behind by the next industrial revolution. There’s a new revolution just around the corner, driven by artificial intelligence and robotics.

8. The refugee who’s now CEO of a $1 billion ASX-listed tech company. Aram Mirkazemi leads Altium whose stock value has risen almost 6000% in the last five years.

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