Our share tips have ended the first half of 2014 in subdued fashion as global stock markets suffered another bout of jitters over the Iraq crisis.

All four portfolios suffered a mark-down, with manufacturing companies particularly hard-hit on twin concerns over rising oil prices and the effect of the strong pound on export business.

Our latest 2014 selections, which include engineers IMI and Ricardo, were the biggest casualties when we carried out our review of progress on Wednesday.

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That trimmed its total gains to a modest 5.1% over the past six months - but this was still a good deal better than the performance of the FTSE 100, which had risen just 0.7% over the same period.

Our other portfolios have also managed to outpace the Footsie, with the 2013 selections up more than 10% this year, the 2011 list gaining another 5.9% and the 2012 portfolio seeing a 2.8% rise.

Much of the credit is due to our stop-loss system, where we sell any share which has fallen 10% from previous peaks. Altogether we have evicted 10 shares under this system, enabling us to book fat profits on some investments, and cut losses on others.

The disposals have had the biggest impact on our long-standing 2011 portfolio which now holds just three shares and is sitting on a notional £6750 cash. We will be making fresh selections next week in an attempt to engineer a rapid return to growth.