Our share tips struggled to make headway last week as investors weighed up the consequence of the latest sanctions against Russia and the effects of the strong pound.

Most shares showed little change over the week, with all four of our portfolios showing only fractional shifts when we carried out our review of progress on Wednesday.

But there were some major exceptions. Glasgow's Smart Metering Systems stood out once again with a further surge on news of its latest contract to supply Scottish Gas owner Centrica with its devices. Alternative energy supplier Infinis also moved sharply upwards even though its shares now trade without the benefits of a fat dividend payment. And Lloyds Banking Group recovered ground ahead of its latest results presentation.

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Moving in the opposite direction was Belhaven Brewery group Greene King, which was ejected from the 2012 portfolio after the shares dropped to their published stop-loss level despite an encouraging trading update.

The sale realised a notional 8.4% gain on the original recommended price for the shares and the proceeds have been added to reserves ready for re-investment.

Overseas earners including engineer IMI, advertising agency WPP, transport group Stagecoach and Anglo-American jeweller Signet all suffered a markdown as a result of the strength of the pound.

IMI has breached its stop-loss level, but for these foreign currency earners we have decided to suspend our usual policy of selling any share which has fallen 10% from previous peaks, as the pound is looking increasingly over-valued and is ripe for an early set-back.

The trigger may come soon, as currency traders begin factoring in the uncertainties of September's Scottish independence vote.