As easy as child's play

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To inject a bit of festive fun into this year's share tips from the City professionals, our City staff and Michael O'Higgins, the American investment guru, we also include a portfolio of 10 stocks chosen at random by Florence Warner, aged 41/2, the daughter of the Independent Business and City Editor.

Random selection can often prove as fruitful a method of picking stock market winners as the most carefully researched portfolios.

We nonetheless present the following selection with an appropriately unambiguous health-warning.

The first company selected - by throwing a ball-point pen at the share price pages - was Bensons Crisps, an out of favour penny stock which is currently languishing at 27p. Believe it, or not, the pen then homed in on Mirror Group - a major shareholder in the Independent - which trades at 176p.

Florence, who was by now displaying all the signs of an out of form dart player, hit the following targets and accompanying numbers:

Powerhouse 2.5p, GUS 685p, Next 456p, Quicks Group 135p, Mercury Euro Partnership 91.5p, Christie Group 211p, Guinness Peat Group 32.5p, and finally Essex Furniture 107p.