Shares on the Australian market have closed lower for the week, after seven consecutive weeks of gains.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed up 21.7 points on Thursday, or by 0.33 per cent, to 6664.8.

The index rose as high as 6704.9 in the first 10 minutes of trading, but 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 trading session is due to the Christmas public holiday on Friday.

For the week, the ASX200 was lower by 0.16 per cent after a coronavirus outbreak in Sydney and a variant found in the UK worried investors.

The Aussie dollar was buying 75.92 US cents at 1428 AEDT, higher from 75.49 US cents at Wednesday’s close.