Experts appear to have hit the jackpot with Focusrite

The newsflow has been positive and if the company stays the course the experts' portfolio will sound sweet

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The Independent Online

David Buik has seen it all in the course of a long and distinguished career in the City of London.

These days Panmure’s chief City commentator is one of the financial centre’s most reliable media performers, and sometimes threatens to make the Square Mile look respectable.

He also doubles up as  a mean share tipster, and  this year he is responsible for a big part of the gain put in by our experts’ eight-strong portfolio of stock tips. His contribution was  Focusrite, a maker of audio equipment that made its debut on the junior AIM market in December. Its shares have been making a big noise ever since, putting in a near 30 per cent gain since the beginning of the year.

The newsflow has been positive and, if the company stays the course, the experts’ portfolio will sound sweet when its time to tot up the final gains and losses at the end of the year. In total, the experts recorded six winners against two losers.

In addition to Focusrite, those so far in the black are caterer Compass Group, Enquest, an oil explorer that has held up rather better than the journalists’ tip of Tullow, insurer Esure, despite the recent concerns about car insurance rates and claims, defence giant BAE Systems, and Kingfisher – which owns B&Q.

Kingfisher shares have started to head south recently given the struggles it is facing with the takeover of French rival Mr Bricolage (it seems the latter’s owners aren’t so keen on selling).

The losers were Weir, a pump and valve engineer that continues to suffer from the travails of its customers in the energy and natural resources sectors, although takeover whispers that have recently surfaced might change that, and Associated British Foods. The latter tip owns discount clothes retailer Primark and a number of food brands, and has suffered from concerns about the impact of the weak euro on its earnings.

The travails of the respective share prices of the last two have knocked a bit of the stuffing out of our experts’ portfolio but it is still ahead of the FTSE 100 and comfortably ahead of the journalists’ effort.

At this point we should stress that this exercise is designed to be fun and before investing in shares you should thoroughly research the companies you’re interested in, and take professional advice if necessary.

If we didn’t, our experts –who bravely put their necks on the line to allow us to compile this feature every year – would have the regulator breathing down their necks. Our thanks to all those who participated.

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