3 shares that blew the ASX away last week

Even on a down week, these three companies posted strong gains

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The S&P / ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) fell just 0.2% on Friday, but the bigger news was that it was the worst week for the index this year, falling a total of 2.5% over the week, with investors going on the defensive and buying utilities, health care and consumer staples shares.

Telstra Limited's (ASX: TLS) share price achieved a 3 year high this week hitting $3.61, an indication of where investors are parking their money. Telstra's share price has risen over 20% in the last year.

Of the top 300 ASX stocks, the following three managed to rise by more than 5%.

Spark Infrastructure (ASX: SKI) rose 6.7%, to close at $1.505, up 9.5 cents after news that it had failed to win the race for New South Wales's desalination plant. Spark was rumoured to have bid more than $2bn for the desalination plant, but many investors considered the acquisition to be a dumb idea, with Spark not having the funds to pay for the desalination plant, and therefore needing to raise equity. Spark appears to be on the acquisition trail, after stating in February 2012 that the company was assessing investment opportunities with a view to diversifying its portfolio.

Downer EDI Limited (ASX: DOW) rose, up 20 cents to close at $3.65, up 5.8%, as the company held an upbeat investor day, announcing that it had generated an additional $1bn of work-in-hand, was paying off debt from recent asset sales and closing down its UK office. Downer also confirmed its full year guidance of earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of around $340m, and net profit after tax of around $180m. The company also announced that it had work-in-hand of $20.4billion as at 31st March 2012. Downer is in the middle of transforming its business with a goal of improving its margins and return on funds employed.

M2 Telecommunications Limited (ASX: MTU) rose to $3.17, up 16 cents or 5.3%. The company has seen its share price fall to under $3, following an announcement in April 2012, that it was acquiring Primus Australia for $192m, and was raising equity to pay for the acquisition. You can read more details about the acquisition in this article. M2 was named by Motley Fool analyst Dean Morel as his top stock for 2012, and Dean's thoughts on the acquisition can be read here.

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Motley Fool contributor Mike King owns shares in M2. The Motley Fool's purpose is to help the world invest, better. Take Stock is The Motley Fool's free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. Click here now to request your free subscription, whilst it's still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691).Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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