Amber, 3, has a stab at outdoing the experts

A year ago we asked Florence Warner, four-and-a-half year old daughter of our Business and City Editor, to select 10 stocks at random by throwing a dart into the shares page of a newspaper. Her portfolio has done her proud and, cynics might add, cast some doubt on the worth of the City's highly paid fund-managers by handsomely beating the market with most of her selections.

Sadly, Florence's portfolio included one clanger. Powerhouse, formerly Com-tek Resources, was tipped at 2.5p but disappeared from investors' screens during the year when it was de-listed. As far as we are aware, the oil and gas tiddler is still active but with no public quote it is impossible to put a value on Florence's holding.

Assuming the worst - a 100 per cent fall - the 10-stock portfolio ended the year 6.3 per cent higher. A more charitable view - deeming Powerhouse to be worth what it was last January - gives Florence an impressive 16.3 per cent rise in the value of her fund.

Her other tips included Mirror Group (+22%), Benson Crisps (+24%) and Next (+24.5%).

This year we have abandoned the nursery for the playgroup and called on the skewer-jabbing prowess of Amber Stevenson, three-year old daughter of our City Editor.

Unfazed by the rivalry between her daddy and Florence's, she boldly plumped for the following: Critchley Group (885p), T&N (173.5p), Jarvis (142.5p), McDonnell Information Systems (33p), Roxspur (8p), Tesco (354.5p), Linden (164.5p), Lavendon (157.5p), Gartmore British Geared Income & Growth Trust units (246.5p) and Aukett Associates (7p).

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