Australia’s share market was little changed in the final session of the week, after minor gains on Wall Street earlier.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 3.6 points, or 0.05 per cent, to 6550.8 at 1200 AEDT on Friday.
The All Ordinaries was higher by 8.8 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 6751.5.
Information technology was the best performing sector, up 1.19 per cent, while heath was 0.76 per cent better.
Energy was the poorest performer, down 1.04 per cent after global oil prices fell.
The uneventful opening follows US markets closing higher after senate leaders agreed to revive talks to craft a fiscal relief package.
However, global investors may have lost hope. After trading closed, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asked the US Federal Reserve to return money earmarked under the March pandemic relief act for emergency lending to businesses, non-profits and local governments.
That would mark an end on December 31 to most of the crisis-response programs the central bank deemed vital to keeping the economy stable.
In Australia, a review into the retirement income system has found it to be effective and sound, but questioned future legislated increases to the superannuation guarantee.
The independent review handed to the Morrison government in July was released by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
The government has yet to make a decision on whether to pause the increases, which are due in July.
Meanwhile South Australia’s building and construction industry says it must be allowed to resume operations next week to protect the livelihoods of 70,000 workers and limit damage to the state economy.
The industry has been caught up in the statewide lockdown as health authorities try to contain a dangerous COVID-19 cluster.
On Thursday the number of confirmed infections was reduced to 22, with 17 more people suspected of having the virus.
Elsewhere in the building industry, Grocon has called in administrators after problems with its Barangaroo construction project in Sydney.
Chief executive Daniel Grollo said he is furious at the government agency Infrastructure NSW, which Grocon has been fighting in court over the Barangaroo precinct.
On the ASX, insurer IAG will raise up to $750 million through a share sale after a NSW court ruled insurers have to pay compensation to business customers affected by the pandemic.
Insurers are considering appealing to the High Court.
The share sale will include an underwritten sale of $650 million to financial institutions, and a retail offer of up to $100 million.
IAG will set aside $865 million for the potential cost of pandemic claims.
This decision will mean an $805 million impact on full-year earnings.
Shares remained suspended from trading.
Aussie biotech Mesoblast was the best of big companies on the bourse.
Its shares were higher by 14.06 per cent to $3.73 after signing a licence deal with Novartis to help develop its therapy to treat a rare disease which affects blood cancer patients.
Novartis will pay $US50 million as part of the deal.
Investors appeared enthusiastic about online marketplace Redbubble appointing former Seek executive Michael Ilczynski its chief executive.
Shares were higher by 6.16 per cent to $4.82.
Mr Ilczynski will remain a director and take over the chief executive role in January.
In banking, the Commonwealth was the only one of the big four banks higher. It rose 0.78 per cent to $79.49.
The others were lower by less than one per cent.
In mining, Rio Tinto was best of the big three, rising 0.57 per cent to $99.49.
In energy, Oil Search dropped 6.03 per cent to $3.50.
In the US earlier, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.15 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 0.39 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.87 per cent.
The Aussie dollar was buying 72.79 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 72.93 US cents at Thursday’s close.