A model prepares backstage during The Australian Fashion Foundation Awards in Sydney. Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images for Australian Fashion Foundation

Australian stocks closed higher for the third session in a row.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX200: 6,075.60 +3.80 +0.06%
  • All Ordinaries: 0.7660 -0.0002 -0.03%
  • AUD/USD: 6,167.90 +4.70 +0.08%

The local market kept the gains of the last two sessions with the ASX200 still well above the key 6000 point mark.

The big miners pushed the market above water. BHP was up 0.9% to $72.97.

The major banks mostly gained a little with the Commonwealth 0.3% higher at $80.57 but the NAB down 0.4% to $29.71,

The Retail Food Group, the owner of Brumby’s, Donut King, Crust Gourmet Pizzas, Michel’s Patisserie and Gloria Jean’s under pressure from media reports of alleged wage theft by its franchisees, dropped another 17.9% to $1.625. The shares have fallen by almost half in less than a week.

Top stories:

1. Ardent Leisure is selling its bowling centres for $160 million. It’s being rolled into The Entertainment and Education Group, which recently acquired the assets of the arcade business Timezone and is jointly owned by funds advised by Quadrant Private Equity and the Steinberg family, founders of Timezone. Ardent shares were up 11.8% to $1.935.

2. The outlook is brighter for Australia’s retail sector. Consumer confidence, as measured by Westpac, hit a four-year high in December, coinciding with a 0.5% rebound in retail sales in October, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) earlier this month.

3. The federal budget. Close inspection of the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook (MYEFO) reveals not much has changed since the May budget.

4. Fund managers are refusing to abandon stocks. Overvalued with positioning disproportionately long, creating the risk of a rush for the exits at some point in the future.

5. Australia’s rich are holding about $100 billion in cash at the moment. They’re worried about volatility.

6. Thinking about investing in bitcoin? First read this from Chris Brycki, the founder and CEO of robo-advice fund Stockspot.

7. Redbubble sued by Pokemon. The creative online marketplace lost a case after printing t-shirts depicting Pikachu.

8. The top 5 most popular Christmas songs. The Spotify list.

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