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Traders were enjoying a broad-based rally on the Australian share market in the last session before the Christmas break, after Wall Street closed higher.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 33.5 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 6676.6 at 1200 AEDT on Thursday.

The index rose as high as 6704.9 in the first 10 minutes of trading.

The All Ordinaries was up 34.9 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 6927.5.

Thursday is a shortened ASX trading session and the cash market closes at 1410 AEDT, due to the Christmas public holiday on Friday.

Energy was the top sector, higher by 1.43 per cent after oil prices rose.

Financials were up 0.61 per cent, while materials rose 0.5 per cent.

The gains came after US investors found positives in mixed economic data overnight.

There was a welcome decrease in jobless claims, but also a pullback in consumer spending and a drop in personal income.

President Donald Trump’s threat to block Congress’s recently crafted $US900 ($1.2 trillion) stimulus plan remains.

Mr Trump called the $US600 ($790) payments to millions of Americans “ridiculously low” and demanded that the figure be increased to $US2,000 ($2,636) per person.

The threat did not seem to matter to investors.

Meanwhile border restrictions remain in Australia after the Sydney coronavirus cluster rose by nine infections to 104.

Infected people have been found in other states following visits to Sydney, keeping authorities across the country on alert.

On the ASX, a BHP company in Brazil will restart mining, five years after a dam collapsed and killed 19 people in the country’s biggest environmental disaster.

BHP said the Samarco joint venture had 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. It also sent roughly 40 million cubic metres of sludge into communities, the Rio Doce river and Atlantic Ocean.

BHP and Brazilian miner Vale have 50 per cent stakes in Samarco.

Shares were up 0.84 per cent to $42.81.

Fortescue was higher by 0.5 per cent to 23.59, Rio Tino rose 0.1 per cent to $114.96 while South32 had a 2.2 per cent gain to $2.54.

A2 Milk said it will 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 were up 1.22 per cent to $11.16.

In banking, Westpac late on Wednesday said ASIC would not be taking action over the bank’s major breaches of money laundering and terror financing laws.

ASIC began investigating related matters after the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre started court action late last year.

Westpac said it has been told there will be no ASIC action.

Shares were up 0.5 per cent to $19.67.

ANZ rose 0.3 per cent to $23.18, the Commonwealth gained 0.6 per cent to $83.72 and NAB climbed 0.5 per cent to $23.10.

Earlier in the US, the S&P 500 rose 2.75 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 3,690.01. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 114.32 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 30,129.83. The Nasdaq composite fell 36.80 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 12,771.11.

The Aussie dollar was buying 75.83 US cents at 1200 AEDT, higher from 75.49 US cents at Wednesday’s close.