As the weekend draws closer we can begin to reflect on a reasonably quiet week for the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO). The index has finished the week up a good 1.6%, after a 0.3% gain today.

However, it wasn’t this quiet for all shares in the index. There are a couple of shares in particular which stood out for me this week. Each has posted strong gains for its shareholders, but can they continue?

Asaleo Care Ltd (ASX: AHY)

Asaleo Care shareholders will be pleased with another strong performance this week. Its shares have climbed 8% since Monday, bringing the monthly return to 15%.

The manufacturer of personal care brands including Sorbent, Libra and Tena reported strong earnings at the end of the February. This came at a time when the company was facing significant macroeconomic challenges.

The company has been facing strong headwinds from pulp prices which have been hitting record highs in the last 12 months. But the good news is that despite these high prices it still managed to grow its net profit by over 5%.

Priced at an estimated forward price-to-earnings ratio of 13x and a dividend yield above 4% (unfranked) makes this defensive share a very tempting investment option in my opinion.

McMillan Shakespeare Limited (ASX: MMS).

The shares of McMillan Shakespeare have rallied over 9% this week following an announcement that it had been appointed as a vehicle leasing partner for the New South Wales government. The appointment means it now becomes one of six companies able to compete for the financing of 22,000 Government-owned vehicles.

Until recently, the shares may have been held back by concerns over the future of salary packaging and fringe benefits tax, but this deal seems to have quelled those fears for now.

Year-to-date its shares are still down almost 7%, which could mean this recent rally still has a bit further to go. Priced at 12 times earnings puts the shares at a discount to the sector average of 13. McMillan also sports a dividend yield of more than 4% – fully franked too.

I feel it is prudent for investors in McMillan Shakespeare to keep a close watch on any regulation changes that may be detrimental to the company’s future prospects. There have been reports of an early Federal double-dissolution election recently. That would bring with it a new budget, the potential for a change of government and the chance for further regulatory changes.

Foolish takeaway

It has been a great week for shareholders of both of these companies. Looking further ahead, I wouldn’t class either of these shares as being growth shares like Carsales.Com Ltd (ASX: CAR) and SEEK Limited (ASX: SEK). Instead, I see them as quality defensive shares which should provide their shareholders with steady returns – and decent dividends – throughout the years.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. 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.