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Australian Shares Close Higher

Australian shares showed gains today after continued positive momentum on Wall Street. Australian Stock Report analyst Benny Sada was quoted on Sky News as saying the local market built on early gains before declining slightly. 'Our market has opened stronger on the back of Wall Street gains on Friday night and the gains have been widespread today,' Mr Sada said. 'Health care stocks and the telcos have led the charge but all the other sectors have enjoyed gains today.' He said there had been some profit taking towards the end of the day. In US market on Friday, the SP 500 index closed the day above 1,800 points for the  first time, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up to another record of 16,064.77 points. in local markets, Telstra was up two cents to $5.08 while Sonic Healthcare was a clear standout in the health sector, gaining eight cents, or 1.7 per cent, to $4.88. In the banking sector, National Australia Bank added 18 cents to $34.10, ANZ gained 11 cents to $31.79 and Westpac was two cents higher at $32.52. Commonwealth Bank dropped 22 cents to $76.27. in the resources sector, BHP Billiton was six cents higher to $37.89, Rio Tinto up 12 cents to $65.40 and Fortescue Metals rose four cents to $5.82. Warrnambool Cheese and Butter added another 18 cents to $9.23 after Canadian dairy company Saputo said it would lift its takeover offer to $9.20 per Warrnambool share, if it attains a stake of more than 50 per cent. Rival bidder Bega Cheese dropped four cents to $4.67. At the close on Monday, the benchmark SP/ASX200 index was up 15.8 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 5,346.1. The broader All Ordinaries index was up 16.9 points, or 0.32 per cent, at 5,352.8.