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John Phelps's portfolio

Our share tips were in festive mood last week with all four portfolios seeing more gains in the run-up to Christmas.

We were particularly pleased with the showing of our 2013 selections which saw a rise of just more than 1% to hit their highest valuation of the year on Wednesday morning.

And we were relieved to see the 2010 portfolio end its losing streak with a timely 0.7% increase to take its overall appreciation to 101.6% ahead of liquidation next week.

The other two portfolios were also able to show modest overall gains despite a slippage in the benchmark FTSE 100 share index over the period as traders weighed up the consequences of tighter financial controls in the US and potential UK interest-rate hikes .

Some of the best gains were in companies which have fallen back from previous peaks, with Scottish retinal imaging group Optos again catching the eye with a rise to take its overall increase to more than 20% in the past month.

The shares, at the current level of around 187p, are still well down on their 221p high, but brokers at Optos say they could be worth as much as 300p in the next year.

There was also a useful recovery in our disappointing investment in the Signet jewellery chain with brokers at Deutsche Bank particularly enthusiastic over prospects for fatter margins thanks to lower gold and diamond costs.

B&Q retailer Kingfisher staged a partial recovery after recent slippage although most analysts believe shoppers have reined back on spending this Christmas.

But transport giant Stagecoach went into reverse after its own gains over the past month when leading analysts at Goldman Sachs advised clients to sell "on valuation grounds."

Others seeing year-end profit taking included British Polythene Industries, Smiths Group and Drax.

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