Investors may have less Christmas cheer going into the festive period after the share market failed to notch eight consecutive weeks of gains.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index's weekly loss of 0.16 per cent came despite the index on Thursday closing up 21.7 points, or by 0.33 per cent, to 6664.8.
A broad rally helped the index rise as high as 6704.9 early but it fell steadily in the last hour of trade.
The All Ordinaries closed up 24.9 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 6917.5.
The shortened Thursday session is due to the Christmas public holiday on Friday.
The weekly decline comes as health authorities continue to try to curb a coronavirus outbreak in Sydney, and world leaders grow wary of more infectious variants found in the UK.
The number of infections from the Sydney outbreak rose by nine to 104. Interstate travel restrictions remain.
Meanwhile, the virus remains prevalent in Europe and the US.
Many European countries have closed borders to the UK after a more infectious COVID-19 variant was found there.
The US and UK are distributing vaccines to save lives and reduce the burden on hospitals.
Yet Burman Invest chief investment officer Julia Lee had reason for optimism.
She was encouraged by the economic stimulus deal in the US, and a possible Brexit trade one between the UK and European Union.
US President Donald Trump has threatened to block the $US900 ($1.2 trillion) stimulus deal struck by Congress. He wants Americans' payments increased from $US600 ($790) to $US2,000 ($2,636) per person.
Ms Lee was not worried by the threat.
"I think the markets have taken it as a positive, as a potential upside to the current package," she said.
US markets closed slightly higher.
On the ASX, a top performer was debt collector Credit Corp, up 19.66 per cent to $29.76.
The company said full-year net profit would increase by about $10 million after buying the debt book of Collection House for $160 million.
Collection House shares were suspended and last traded for $1.08.
Energy was the best-performing sector. Beach, Oil Search and Santos gained more than two per cent.
A BHP company in Brazil will restart mining, five years after a dam collapsed and killed 19 people.
BHP said the Samarco joint venture started producing iron ore pellets at complexes in Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo after authorities approved the restart.
In 2015, a Samarco dam used to store mining waste collapsed and killed workers, and polluted waterways.
Samarco is aiming to produce about eight million tonnes of iron ore pellets each year.
BHP and Brazilian miner Vale have 50 per cent stakes in the business.
BHP shares closed 1.18 per cent higher to $42.95.
A2 Milk said it would buy a 75 per cent stake in New Zealand dairy company Mataura Valley Milk.
A2 will pay $NZ268.5 million ($251.4 million) for the stake.
Mataura Valley Milk makes infant formula and milk powder, and sells to China.
A2 shares closed down 0.73 per cent to $10.95.
In banking, ANZ closed lower by 0.3 per cent to $23.03, the Commonwealth slipped 0.04 per cent to $83.15, NAB rose 0.09 per cent to $23.00 and Westpac dipped 0.05 per cent to $19.55.
The ASX share market is closed until Tuesday.
The Aussie dollar was buying 75.81 US cents at 1534 AEDT, higher from 75.49 US cents at Wednesday's close.
ON THE ASX
* The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed up 21.7 points, or by 0.33 per cent, to 6664.8 on Thursday.
* The All Ordinaries closed up 24.9 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 6917.5.
* At 1534 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was higher by 32 points, or 0.149 per cent, to 6597.
One Australian dollar buys:
* 75.81 US cents, from 75.49 cents on Wednesday
* 78.54 Japanese yen, from 78.08 yen
* 62.12 Euro cents, from 61.95 cents
* 55.97 British pence, from 56.28 pence
* 106.88 NZ cents, from 107.05 cents.