Our 2014 portfolio came through its first major test with flying colours last week with its overall valuation substantially unchanged in the face of a general market downturn.

True, there were some casualties, with engineering giant IMI and household goods specialist Dunelm giving up previous gains and Smart Metering Systems dropping towards its stop/loss level.

But they were balanced by further support for Scottish cloud computing group Iomart and alternative energy supplier Infinis, while Dialight justified our decision to give the shares a second chance with a useful rise over the week.

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Our other portfolios fared less well, with all three recording overall losses of around 1.5% when we conducted our review of progress on Wednesday morning.

Not surprisingly, companies with a global presence were the major casualties as investors reacted to fears over the economies of emerging nations on American fiscal tightening and the prospect of slower growth in China.

We had tended to steer clear of these multinational giants in favour of smaller UK-biased businesses with recent recommendations, but still suffered a dip in profits from longstanding holdings in companies such as Compass, Smiths Group and Halma.

Services group DCC was another to fall on concerns that its fuel distribution arm will be hit by a fall in demand due to the relatively mild weather across much of the UK.

Against that, Anglo-American jewellery group Signet finally moved into profit as it continued the recovery which has seen its shares rise almost 10% in the past month.

We are hopeful that the UK stock market should quickly recover and we are monitoring a number of prospects for our 2011 portfolio which has room for one more nominal purchase.