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John Phelps portfolio

Our share tips continued to enjoy their best run in more than a decade, with further strong gains across the board last week.

The latest 2013 portfolio was particularly favoured, with its overall valuation up by more than £200 (3.6%) when we conducted our review of progress on Wednesday morning.

Much of the gain was down to a surge in the price of building group Galliford Try after directors hoisted the latest dividend by one-third to accompany strong half-year results, while satellite communications group Avanti also rose further after its own trading update.

Both these shares have risen by a remarkable 20% since the start of the year – in stark contrast to the performance of flagging transport giant Stagecoach, which is now down more than 5% since we tipped the shares at the start of January.

We still hope the shares could get a boost when Sir Brian Souter produces the group's latest trading update on March 1, but will cut our losses and ditch our notional shareholding if the price slips further to our published stop/loss figure.

The stop/loss figure is set 10% below peak prices reached for individual shares and is adjusted each week on an upwards-only basis to ensure we can lock in the bulk of profits (or minimise losses) on any sharp falls.

The latest stock-market rise meant we were particularly busy with the calculator last week to raise sell targets on recent strong performers, including Galliford, Avanti, Grainger, Aberdeen Asset Management, Halma and Centrica.

Apart from Stagecoach, one or two of our other tips saw mark-downs over the week and the 2010 portfolio suffered a small loss as Irn-Bru manufacturer AG Barr dropped 7% after its planned merger with Britvic was referred to the Competition Commission and Carr's Milling was hit by one of its periodic bouts of profit-taking.

But the deficit was dwarfed by further gains for both the 2011 and 2012 selections.

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