We came within a whisker of losing our two most successful share tips last week as stock markets made a disorderly retreat on fears over an armed conflict in the Ukraine.
Both property group Grainger and safety equipment specialist Halma came close to triggering sell signals as their shares continued a slide which has seen both drop approaching 10% from previous peaks. We will be reluctant sellers but can hardly complain, as Grainger shares are still yielding an 89% profit on our original recommendation last year and Halma shows a 68% gain since we made it one of our shares for the year at the start of 2013.
But we decided to hold on to one of our more disappointing tips for another week when mail order group N Brown hit its own stop/loss level after the British Retail Consortium announced poor industry sales figures for March.
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We believe the market is being too pessimistic about the company, and should announce robust annual results on May 1, although we will certainly join the sellers on any further price weakness.
Marks & Spencer also faces early eviction from the 2014 portfolio on any further share price weakness after its recent disappointing results.
Despite signs of a mid-week rally, the majority of our tips were showing losses when we carried out our usual review of progress on Wednesday morning, although Glasgow's Smart Metering Systems continued its good run while lighting group Dialight, catering giant Compass and drinks group Fuller Smith & Turner also pushed higher.
The 2012 portfolio was the biggest casualty with a hefty 3.7% drop over the week with all five of its constituents falling back. The 2013 and 2011 selections gave up 3% and 2% respectively. Our 2014 list showed a 2.6% fall over the week, although still registered a 6.5% overall gain against a 2.9% slippage in the FTSE 100 share index since the start of the year.