The Week in Markets: All bets are on McMillan

For a clear bet on the election winner, just take a look at the star performer in an otherwise lacklustre week.

McMillan Shakespeare was the week’s most exciting performer amid a stream of miserable domestic economic data. Ending the first week of September, the ASX 200 gained 10 points for the week.

McMillan Shakespeare

If you were looking to the share market for an indication of which party was going to win Saturday’s federal election, turn to McMillan Shakespeare. Investors have piled into the stock on the belief the coalition will be victorious. 

In an open letter, the coalition confirmed Labor’s fringe benefit tax changes would become null and void. The letter sent McMillan shares up 8.5 per cent on Tuesday.

For the week, McMillan gained $1.56, or 13.2 per cent. The shares are still a long way off their all-time high of $18.03 reached on July 12, before the Labor government’s announcement. 

Newcrest Mining

The internal inquiry into Newcrest’s disclosure leading up to the June 7 downgrade announcement concluded there was no systematic failure or tell-tale signs indicating a lapse in procedure or protocols.

Surprisingly, the review by Dr Maurice Newman did not include Newcrest’s internal and external email communication in the lead up to the announcement. If there is any suspicious communication, the email trail will come back to haunt you, as a few players within Goldman Sachs can attest post the GFC.

Over 13 million shares changed hands on May 31, way above the three-month average of just over 5 million leading up to this. So on this fateful Friday, suddenly everyone wanted to buy Newcrest? That is a story hard to believe.

The question for investors is now, can Newcrest be trusted?

ASIC is undertaking its own inquiry and one can hope the officials do spend some time looking at any email correspondence. 

Construction pipeline

Shares in Monadelphous rallied 3.6 per cent following the announcement of a $235 million contract from Rio Tinto for the Cape Lambert Port Project.

Other mining construction service companies that had a good week include NRW Holdings and Ausdrill Ltd, gaining 12.4 and 24.8 per cent respectively.

Construction figures covering residential, construction, apartment and engineering declined in August for the 39th straight month, but recent strength in some construction share prices indicates things may not be all bad.

While everyone is squealing that the end of mining boom has arrived, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto plan to spend a combined $244 billion on expansions through to 2015. A chunk of this will need to be directed towards construction, adding support to an out of favour sector.

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