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ASX rises but leaves these 3 behind

The S&P / ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has risen 0.2% to end at 4,719.7 after shrugging off weak economic data, and following modest leads from offshore markets. Weaker than expected job ads and housing finance data saw the market edge down after a strong start.

The Australian dollar is steady against the US dollar, currently buying 105.6 US cents.

Despite the market rising, these three stocks lost more than 3%.

Bathroom fixtures and fittings company, GWA Group (ASX: GWA) fell 6.3%, to close at $2.25. After announcing plans to cut 230 jobs as part of a restructure in mid-December, GWA’s share price has been on a tear, rising over 30% before today. Falls in housing finance data suggest the building and construction industry is still facing difficult conditions, despite the RBA’s recent cuts to the official cash rate.

McMillan Shakespeare Limited (ASX: MMS) dropped 4.3%, ending at $13.34. Market darling McMillan is a salary packaging company, and has seen its share price rise 440% since the depths of the GFC back in March 2009. Consistently high return on equity of over 30%, steadily rising profits, and decent fully franked dividends over the past five years, have seen investors rush into the stock. That may have pushed the share price too high too fast, and today’s fall is likely a pause for breath.

Maverick Drilling and Exploration (ASX: MAD) fell another 3.6% to end at 66.5 cents, and has dropped by more than 50% since August last year. Despite being the best performer in the ASX 200 in 2012 and rocketing to a high of $1.49, investors appear to be deserting the company in recent times. Concerns over the company’s ability to convert its reserves of 100 million barrels of oil into revenues appear to be the most likely culprit.

If you only invest in one company this year, make it our “Top Stock for 2012-13.” Operating in two hot markets — one set to double by 2012, the other predicted to grow 5x over the next five years — this stock is a solid growth play that also boasts strong recurring revenue, zero debt, and lots of cash. Get its name and full research case in this brand-new FREE report.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in Maverick. 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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