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John Phelps's portfolio

Our share tips enjoyed bumper trading last week with virtually all recommendations showing some advance when we carried out our review of progress on Wednesday.

Some of the biggest gains were seen in dollar earners such as Anglo-American jeweller Signet, global catering giant Compass and safety equipment specialist Halma as the pound slipped to four-month lows.

But companies which earn their cash in the UK such as Marks & Spencer and cash-and-carry group Booker also received a boost as interest rate fears receded.

Scotland's Smart Metering Systems was our only significant faller when nervous investors moved to take profits ahead of half year trading figures due early next month.

We are not too surprised after recent good gains but expect the shares to resume their upwards trajectory after the latest bulletin's release which should confirm strong trading and overseas expansion.

The Smart share price slippage, though, limited overall valuation gains for the 2014 and 2013 portfolios to around the 1% mark while the 2012 selections scorched to a 2.8% gain and the 2011 list advanced by some 2%.

We were particularly pleased with the showing of some of our laggards last week with Booker and new issue flop Saga moving into profit, and engineering companies IMI and Ricardo finally trimming their losses.

The renewed strength of the US currency persuaded us to take a gamble on shares of the state-controlled Royal Bank of Scotland on Wednesday on hopes of a good reception when it floats Citizen Bank, its US retailing arm. We recognise this is a high-risk investment but are encouraged by analysts at Jefferies who believe the shares could rise 30% in the medium term.

As usual, we have set a stop/loss level at which we advise followers to consider selling on any big relapse.

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