Source: ABC News – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-31/shares-close-with-first-monthly-gain-since-february/6664214
Anita Savage

“The Australian share market has ended the day higher thanks to strength in the big banks and the healthcare sector.

The All Ordinaries closed up 29 points at 5,682 while the ASX 200 was 30 points higher at 5,699.

It completed the market’s first monthly gain since February.

One of the biggest movers of the day was CSL, whose shares were up almost 3 per cent to $98.96 after winning approval for its acquisition of the Novartis influenza vaccine business.

Investors also bought into sleep disorder device supplier ResMed on strong quarterly earnings numbers; its shares jumped more than 6 per cent to $8.00.

The big four banks were higher; After the market closed Westpac announced it had followed the other three big banks and lifted its standard variable interest rate for investment property borrowers by 0.27 percentage points to 5.75 per cent.

Financial firm Pepper Group rallied on its share market debut, with the newly listed stock jumping nearly 20 per cent in the first moments of trade.

It closed at $3.30 compared with an issue price of $2.60.

Despite plunging oil prices, Origin Energy has lifted quarterly production and revenue, but its shares fell slightly to $11.34.

The only sector to lose ground was mining; market heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto both lost a fraction.

Elsewhere, Telstra rose more than 0.5 per cent to $6.49 per share while Qantas put on 0.27 per cent to close at $3.75.

The Australian dollar slumped to another six-year low after the greenback rallied on US economic data, and about 5:00pm (AEST) was buying 72.8 US cents, 66.58 euro cents, 46.71 British pence, 90.49 Japanese yen and $1.11 in New Zealand.

West Texas intermediate crude oil was worth $US48.48 a barrel, Tapis crude in Singapore was fetching $US56.56 a barrel and spot gold was trading at $US1,085 an ounce”.