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The Australian market has re-opened after a long weekend hitting fresh near 10 year highs and remaining well above 6000pts. The ASX 200 is up 0.3 per cent and is adding to last week’s 1.2 per cent surge (best week since October). Volumes do tend to dry up at this time of year however with two holiday interrupted weeks keeping many traders and investors away from markets.
Most sectors are improving, with a lift in commodity prices overnight helping mining and energy stocks rise higher. BHP Billiton (BHP), Santos (STO), Atlas Iron (AGO) and gold producers are some of the best.
Gains from the banks are equally as supportive with the big four banks up as much as 0.5 per cent.
Retail stocks are performing strongly following estimates that a solid ~$2.4bn was spent on Boxing Day. JB Hi-Fi (JBH), Harvey Norman (HVN), Premier (PMV) and Myer (MYR) are up by as much as 2 per cent. The best in the space though has been online retailer (KGN) which is up 8 per cent and 56 per cent so far this month. Industry experts consider it likely online retailers could have picked up as much as 10 per cent of the spending.
Upmarket retailer, OrotonGroup’s (ORL) administrators – which were called in earlier this month to turn the business around – have struck a deal to sell the organisation to its biggest shareholder. This will keep the luxury retailer trading and importantly for staff prevent the breakup of its operations.
Congress last week voted in favour of the biggest US tax reforms in 30 years. Since then a number of companies have updated investors over the likely impact of these changes. Today, WorleyParsons (WOR) said it is expecting a one-off charge of $45-$60m due to US tax changes while education group Navitas (NVT) is expecting to take a $7.5m hit over the 1H18.
Last week, BlueScope Steel (BSL), Computershare (CPU) and Ansell (ANN) all said they should receive a boost over the short term from the US tax reforms. James Hardie (JHX), Aristocrat Leisure (ALL), Cochlear (COH), CSL, Treasury Wine Estates (TWE), Boral (BLD) and Westfield (WFD) are yet to update the market.
No major data is set for release today and for most of the week.
1.3bn shares have changed hands so far Wednesday, worth a very light $868.2m. 597 stocks rose, 397 fell and 348 finished unchanged. 
Originally published by CommSec