Derek Pain: Ten go up, five are down with one non-mover

Although the stock market remains a treacherous place, I am pleased - and I must admit rather relieved - to record that the no pain, no gain portfolio continues to put on a relatively sound performance.

Although the stock market remains a treacherous place, I am pleased - and I must admit rather relieved - to record that the no pain, no gain portfolio continues to put on a relatively sound performance.

Of its 16 constituents, 10 are recording gains, five are in the red and one is unchanged.

Some of the progress is quite impressive. For example, Allied Domecq is up from the equivalent of 236p to 417p, and AIM-traded Mears, a maintenance services group, has risen from 23p to 58.25p. But, I am sorry to say, I must record disasters.

I have dwelt at length on the sad decline of Lynx, the computer group. I am beginning to regret my decision to stick with the portfolio's weakest constituent. Indeed, it has lost even more ground since my expression of faith. There is clearly a compelling case for accepting a severe hit in the wallet. And I would not criticise any investor for bailing out. But for the time being, I am hanging on to the shares. Any further fall could prompt a swift about-turn.

Stagecoach is another acute disappointment. Problems on the home train front were not unexpected but there had been hopes its US coach business was responding to remedial treatment. Sadly it is not and another poor transatlantic performance has been signalled.

Global, the meat group, was suffering even before the foot-and-mouth tragedy overtook the farming community. Last year's poor weather and fuel crisis hit the fast-food market and in December Global produced the dreaded profits warning, suggesting a year's out-turn of £5m, against £6.1m.

On the plus side, its meat trading division could be a beneficiary of the turmoil and one director topped up his shareholding following the downbeat trading statement.

Gowrings, with Burger King franchises, has also felt the decline in what is called the out-of-home eating market. On Monday, it disclosed the expected profits fall - from £1.9m to £1.2m.

The portfolio is heavily skewed towards old economy shares. I can see no reason to change the present balance between old and new, although the remorseless decline of hi-tech shares must eventually end. There are, as I said last week, intriguing new economy shares around and a few are beginning to look neglected.

The portfolio has, I must admit, been rather inactive these days. But I do not believe in chopping and changing just to provide commission for the stockbroking community. If a share is doing reasonably well, an investor might as well hang on; unless, of course, the investment story changes.

I am comfortable with the 10 winners; I am also not at all unhappy with the one unchanged share, Merrydown, the cidermaker. The 11 represent a broad spread of interests and make profits and pay dividends.

Scottish & Newcastle, the brewer, is to return to the Footsie index, joining two other constituents, Allied and Safeway. The rest of the portfolio is a collection of second-liners and toddlers.

Of course, the five miscreants will have to be monitored carefully. Lynx is clearly teetering on the edgeof ejection.

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