For those who prefer their investments to involve actual assets, 2018 is looking better than 2017. Here we take a sector-by-sector look at how the FM portfolio’s picks fared last year, and offer our picks for the current year. SMALL CAPS The Financial Mail’s small-cap portfolio scraped an underwhelming total return (dividends included) of around 2% in 2017. This is the second year in a row that the small-cap portfolio has produced modest returns — at least compared to previous years, when total returns had a tad more shine. The biggest bruises in terms of pain to the portfolio were chemicals group Rolfes, broadcasting conglomerate eMedia Holdings and small financial services counter Purple Group. Fortunately we did not pick Consolidated Infrastructure (CIL) — the "celebrated" small-cap casualty of 2017 — or fast-food franchiser Taste Holdings. The top small-cap performers over 2017 were mostly obscure or overlooked counters – including lithium miner Tawana Resources (up more than 30...

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