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The Week That Was on the S&P/TSX Composite

Investors seem to be having about as much fun with the markets these days as the world’s best golfers are with Merion Golf Club, this year’s site of the U.S. Open (have you seen the rough!!).

The S&P/TSX Composite (^GSPTSE) appears set to close down by about 1.4% this week after a couple of down days were followed by a pretty strong rally on Thursday.  This week’s decline adds to the June swoon, and will have the Canadian market sitting more than 4% lower than where it began the month.

It was a good week for….

Even though the market was down, it doesn’t mean there weren’t some tidy returns achieved by several stocks.

This week’s top performer with an 11% gain was Alacer Gold (TSX:ASR) which popped on Thursday after the company announced it has initiated the process of selling its Australian assets.

The sale of these assets will allow the company to focus on its world class Copler Mine in Turkey.

Investors liked this idea!

Although the release indicates that expressions of interest have been received, this isn’t exactly the ideal environment to be selling mining assets.

Two other top performing names that gained about 9% each during the week were Penn West Petroleum (TSX:PWT) and Catamaran Corp. (TSX:CCT).

Penn West has garnered significant attention of late as the company has slashed its dividend and shaken up the executive suite.  The company now appears to be exploring options to enhance shareholder value.  One analyst figures this may entail breaking the company into two – with one arm focused on assets with growth potential, and the other left to milk the company’s currently producing assets.  The stock is cheap, but carries a significant debt burden.  The future is anything but certain for Penn West, but investors appear intrigued by the options in front of it.

Although Catamaran is finishing the week on a losing note, currently down by 2%, investors applauded the company’s 10-year strategic PBM (pharmacy benefit management) agreement with CIGNA that was announced early in the week.  This deal is expected to add $5-$5.5 billion in additional revenues (LTM revenues $11.4 billion) and, even though the margins are slim, will be accretive by 2014.

It was a bad week for…..

The worst performing stock this week was Dorel Industries (TSX:DII.B) with a decline of more than 12%.  Dorel warned that its upcoming earnings will be weaker than expected as wet weather in the U.S., Canada, and Europe has negatively impacted bicycle sales.  Prior to this week’s swoon, Dorel’s stock had been up close to 50% over the past year, making it more susceptible to this bit of bad news.

Because of our market’s exposure to resource and financial stocks, the S&P/TSX Composite is a flawed index.  Passive investors in this index are taking on more risk than they are likely aware of.  To combat this issue, the Motley Fool has prepared the special FREE report5 Stocks to Replace Your Canadian Index Fund”.  Download this report at no charge, by simply clicking this link now.

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Fool contributor Iain Butler does not own any of the companies mentioned in this report.  The Motley Fool has no position in any stocks mentioned at this time

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