The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) is expected to trade higher today following positive leads from international markets overnight.

Here’s a recap:

  • Dow Jones (USA): up 0.64%
  • NASDAQ (USA): up 1.59%
  • FTSE 100 (UK): up 1.16%
  • DAX (Germany): up 0.64%
  • CAC 40 (France): up 0.81%

In Europe, markets rallied higher as hopes for a more balanced global oil market helped commodities trend up. In London, a decision by pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Allergan not to merge resulted in a rally of shares in the healthcare sector. FTSE-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) ended 0.2% and 1.1% lower, respectively.

In the US, buying of healthcare and pharmaceutical shares helped markets higher. The healthcare sector ended 2.93% up, while the energy sector rallied 2.14% higher.

Closer to home, the Sydney Futures Exchange is tipping an 18-point, or 0.3%, rise in the S&P/ASX 200.

Shares in focus will include Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC). Earlier in the week, Westpac shares fell after it said it will defend claims brought to the Federal Court of Australia by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission which alleges misconduct from the bank in the short-term money market. Westpac shares have fallen more than 7% in five days.

Bank of Queensland Limited (ASX: BOQ) released its half-year results this morning showing a 4% rise in revenue and 11% increase in profit for the period to 29 February 2016.

On behalf of shareholders, a joint venture of IMF Bentham Ltd (ASX: IMF) has agreed unconditionally to fund litigation against Volkswagen AG for breaches to Germany’s Securities Trading Act 1998 following the fallout from its emission scandal.

Gold miner Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) updated the market on its deposit at Kundana. It said the latest drilling results revealed a 2km-long deposit. The three K2 deposits join at depth, which Norther Star says highlights potential for Kundana to improve on its 100,000-110,000 ounces per annum of gold production forecast for many years.

Finally, in broker news, analysts at Goldman Sachs raised their ResMed Inc. (CHESS) (ASX: RMD) price target 2% to $9 and cut their FlexiGroup Limited (ASX: FXL) price target 4% to $2.99, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

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Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz owns shares of ResMed. Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.