John Phelps’s portfolio

Greenock-based British Polythene Industries provided a sparkling exception last week when most of our share tips were hit by profit-taking after enjoying good trading throughout most of April.

Shares in the Scottish packaging business stood out with a 6 per cent rise when we carried out our review of progress on Wednesday morning after chairman Cameron McLatchie disclosed that the group is set to book fatter than expected profits on a Chinese sale and is also benefiting from lower energy prices and favourable exchange rates.

A few other tips also managed to score useful gains with Lloyds Banking and Electrocomponents attracting fresh support ahead of trading updates later this month and the Anglo-Scottish Breedon Aggregates gaining on hopes of increased infrastructure spending.

But they were heavily out-numbered by our losers with the benchmark FTSE 100 share index shedding 2.0% over the week after hitting a 2016 peak earlier in the month.

Our own share tips did a little better although the total value of our four portfolios was still down by some 1.25 per cent.

Fashion group Next was our biggest disappointment with its share price down a hefty 5.3 per cent as the collapse of fellow retailers BHS and Austin Reed drew attention to the problems facing the UK’s high streets.

We added the shares to our 2016 portfolio only a fortnight ago and still believe they are a good medium term investment but will not hesitate to ditch our notional shareholding if the price dips to the published stop-loss target.

Paving slabs specialist Marshalls was another heavy faller as marker dealers prepared for potential selling following the recent issue of cut-price and free shares to employees under incentive and savings schemes.

Followers believe that the markdown has been overdone and expect an early bounce before the shares begin trading without the benefit of 6.75p dividends in early June.

The Next and Marshalls shares slide left the 2016 portfolio nursing a 2.0 per cent loss over the week despite the British Polythene performance while the 2015 selections shed some 1.5 per cent of their value.

Both the 2014 and 2013 portfolios fared better and confined their overall losses to less than 1.0 per cent.



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