After two strong days, the ASX 200 index is now 2% above its 6 December low. This provides a good start to a year-end rally.

However, the minor downturn in US stock markets last night raises the spectre of a buy the rumour; sell the fact response to US tax cuts finally being passed into law. This, together with higher bond yields overnight, looks set to deliver a soft opening for the local market. Traders now have to ponder the probability of this being a peak, rather than just a pause, in the year-end rally.

Ardent Leisure shareholders are likely to be happy with the price achieved for sale of its Australian bowling division. However, the wider question for investors will be whether reinvestment of the proceeds in the Group’s US Main Event business is an attractive option.