These 3 shares are pushing the S&P/ASX 200 Index higher

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has been doing very well over the last few months, rising to over 6,100.

However the share price of the biggest index constituent, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA), hasn’t actually gone anywhere this year. Indeed its share price is currently languishing at just under $71. The growth of the index is being driven by some of the businesses underneath Commonwealth Bank.

Here are three of the biggest drivers:

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP)

The big Australian has done very well for shareholders, its share price has risen to $33 now from $23.60 a year ago.

A rapid increase in the oil price due to Middle East fears has seen the oil price go up to US$77.32.

BHP has done so well it’s now challenging Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) as the second biggest ASX-listed share.

Obviously, any future growth will rely on commodity price growth.

CSL Limited (ASX: CSL)

CSL has been a strong-performing healthcare business as its share price has gone up to $176 today after being at $136 a year ago.

Its profit continues to rise due to its long-term investments in new treatments and vaccines. The research & development focus allows the business to always have a pipeline of further products that could become winners.

CSL is trading quite expensively now, but the ageing demographics should lead to more demand for its products over time.

Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG)

Macquarie is Australia’s largest investment bank and its overseas earnings are driving the business higher. It has become a global leader in infrastructure management and infrastructure spending is going to continue to rise in Australia and America as cities expand.

Renewable energy and Asian cities are also good areas for investment for Macquarie and I strongly prefer it to the other major banks on the ASX.

Foolish takeaway

The ASX index has done very well thanks to the above three shares in recent times. Even at the elevated prices I’d prefer buy to buy CSL or Macquarie at the current prices compared to Commonwealth Bank or Westpac.

Other long-term blue chip growth ideas are these top stocks.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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 Scott Phillips.

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