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John Phelps's portfolio

Our share tips continued their fine run last week with the total value of our four portfolios up another 1.5% to a record valuation of just more than £38,700 when we conducted our usual review on Wednesday morning.

That compares to initial investments of £24,000 made in stages over the past five years, representing average gains of just over 61% on each tip.

Our flagship 2009 portfolio lagged a little way behind the others although still managed to put on another 1.2% to show a 95% overall increase, thanks largely to a late spurt by Marks & Spencer after news of its reduced pension fund contributions.

We recognise that it will now be touch and go whether it will reach its target of 100% appreciation by the end of 2012 although we are encouraged by data showing that the FTSE 100 share index has gained an average of 2.5% in December for the past 10 years.

The 2012 portfolio saw its valuation jump 1.8%, despite profit taking in Aberdeen Asset Management, as new addition Carr's Milling Industries responded to a fresh buy circular from brokers at Investec.

The 2010 selections put on a similar amount, thanks largely to the rebound in Carr's shares although industrial components group Diploma took a knock as its shares began trading without benefit of the latest dividend.

All four remaining shares in the 2011 list made some progress with its total valuation up some 1.3%.

We accept that the overall performance of our portfolios could have been still better in a rising market but for our large cash holdings built up from previous sales. At this late stage, however, we are content to continue with our cautious approach before reviewing our position at the end of the year.

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