Each Lunar New Year Asian brokerage and investment group CLSA releases its Feng Shui Index - a tongue-in-cheek financial forecast for the year ahead. Joanna Andrews takes a look at what the Feng Shui masters predict for the Year of the Horse.
The CLSA Feng Shui Index is a light hearted prediction for the coming year, with a particular focus on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HSI), key market sectors, world leaders and celebrities – including US Federal Reserve Chair apparent Janet Yellen and this years’ football capital Rio de Janeiro – host of the FIFA World Cup.
“Positive, powerful and racepaced - there’s much to like about the Horse,” the report says. “It’s also well positioned: At No.7 in the zodiac, the Horse kicks off the second half of the 12-year cycle.”
It goes on to say, “Traditionally, the vital force or energy known as ‘qi’ is considered to be spent or stale half-way through a cycle - the Horse heralds the arrival of the so-called second wind - a burst of invigorating fresh qi.”
CLSA predicts a lot of fire for the year of the wood horse, which started on January 31, 2014. It says fire bodes well for stock markets as it is considered a ‘lucky’ element, “Fire is the intrinsic element that’s widely regarded as the driver of investment sentiment.”
The soothsayers are generally bullish on Hong Kong stock – and forecast the HSI to gallop above 28,000 – well above where it sits today at around 22,000. “We uncovered so many unexpected connections, coincidences and links between the HSI and this Wood Horse that we discern a definite Casablanca connection - ‘the beginning of a beautiful friendship’. And one that should be very rewarding. Our pure bull forecast sees the index hit 28,105,” it says.
The best performers are businesses associated with wood (retail, soft commodities, and plantations), according to the report. Fire- related stock – like internet, tech, telecoms, as well as some oil & gas suppliers are also expected to fare well. However, earth-related stock – like property and resources are seen dwindling. And, there are warnings that the predominant elements of wood and fire will produce unexpected ‘explosions’. If the Feng Shui masters are right, then 2014 might turn out to be a year where the ‘black swan’ determines what happens.
Notable ‘explosions’ away from the market in previous horse years include the flooding of the Yangzee River in 1954, the unleashing the Cultural Revolution in 1996 by Chairman Mao and Saddam Hussein invading Kuwait in 1990.
CLSA says Janet Yellen is in for a great year. “Yellen's weightings look pure Goldilocks: a 'just right' balance of safe, sensible, sure and steady, with enough off-kilter to keep it real. Her Fire Dog fortune chart's ears have pricked up of late, with the expectation of some big-time tailwagging all next year.”
As for the city of Rio De Janeiro – the report says, it will be a good test ahead of the 2016 Olympics. “How's it looking? Much as you'd expect from the charts: a little too chaotic for comfort, but definitely moving forward.”
It concludes, “Like any great sporting drama, this one will go to the wire. Certain disaster is averted with external support. Hand of God, perhaps?” Gong Xi Fa Chai!