We were forced to ditch another two of our share tips last week when construction group Kier and water supplier United Utilities triggered sell signals under out stop/loss system.

Both shares had been teetering on the brink and finally slipped below our published target as stock markets weakened over fears for the US and the ongoing Euro crisis.

We continue to see attractions in both companies which are generous dividend payers but have to admit we had our timing wrong and have been left nursing losses of around £170 on our notional investment of £2000.

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The latest sales mean that we now have cash reserves of just over £16,000 spread among the four portfolios, some 42% of their total valuation of around £38,150.

The cash provides some protection in a time of falling markets but we believe that many shares are now undervalued and will be seeking fresh investments in the coming weeks.

The 2012 portfolio was the biggest casualty of last week's stock-market setback, shedding some 2.6% of its total value as a result of the Kier losses and a sharp mark down in the prices of SSE and Scottish Gas group, Centrica, on news of fresh investigations into the gas market.

The two energy companies deny wrongdoing and we are confident they will recover as investors regain their enthusiasm for "safe" havens in the current economic turmoil.

The other portfolios managed to contain losses to well below the 2% plus slide the FTSE 100 share index recorded over the week, thanks to their large cash holdings and the out-performance of a few shares such as Diageo, Aberdeen Asset Management, Standard Life and AG Barr. In contrast, Marks & Spencer ran into profit-taking after the shares began trading without the benefit of their latest dividend while wholesale group, Booker, fell more than 5% when its latest acquisition was referred to the Competition Commission.