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John Phelps's portfolio

Our share tips made a robust start to the new year, with all four portfolios chalking up useful gains as we conducted our first review of progress on Wednesday morning.

The only slight disappointment was the fact that two of our selections for the latest 2013 portfolio – Stagecoach and Avanti – recorded small falls in their opening week.

We remain relaxed about their showing, however, as both shares had been trading near the top of recent price ranges and we were expecting them to succumb to profit-taking at some stage before resuming their upward path.

In any case, their losses were easily covered by gains elsewhere, with housebuilder Galliford Try standing out with a rise of more than 5% after directors issued a confident trading statement earlier on the Wednesday.

Some of the best performances were reserved for longer-standing tips, with Moodiesburn's sausage-skin manufacturer Devro bouncing almost 10% from recent low points as buyers took up new positions ahead of next month's trading results.

Scottish finance groups Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard, together with energy giant SSE, were among others to climb to fresh peaks.

In all cases, we have raised the stop/loss levels at which we will sell shares to ensure we can lock in the bulk of recent profits on any major price reversal.

The best performance of the week was by the longstanding 2010 portfolio, which recorded a 3.6% gain to take profits past £5000 for the first time.

The 2011 list was not far behind, with a 2.7% rise, and the 2012 selections added another 1.2% to their total value despite a slippage in Carr's Milling shares as result of profit-taking following their spectacular gains.

We remain conscious that both the 2010 and 2011 portfolios have excessive cash reserves at a time of rising share prices, and it is likely we will be making fresh investments in the coming weeks.

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