Year of the Monkey means mischief is afoot ... for Hong Kong’s stock market
Originally published at the South China Morning Post on January 28, 2016.
It’s the year of the monkey and that means mischief – even for Hong Kong’s stock market index.
The city’s benchmark Hang Seng Index is set to fluctuate as we enter a “fire monkey” year and will see a decent recovery to hit a peak in April, according to brokerage firm CLSA’s 22nd annual tongue-in-cheek feng shui index forecast.
Launched in 1992, the playful annual market predictions are crafted with the help of fung shui masters, who consult a mix of Chinese zodiac signs and terminology to chart the index’s seasonal movements throughout the year.
“There’s going to be conflict, but there are also going to be opportunities,” said Cherry Ma, CLSA’s technology analyst. “There are going to be a lot of ups and downs, but overall we’ll be in positive territory.”
Despite the initial rise, this lunar year will be rife with monkey business. The index is forecast to take a downward swing midyear before making another recovery, and while industries related to metal or water – like cars, machinery, financials, gaming and transport – will do well in the first half of the year, the water sector will then deteriorate, causing transport, gaming, retail and health-care stocks to plummet.
The chimp year will bring chump change even to the world’s top leaders, with stars rising for some and falling for others. Taiwan’s new president Tsai Ing-wen was born in the year of the fire monkey, and the lunar new year will bring prospects for finance, work and travel although she will likely face a lonely year and must be wary of disputes abroad.
US presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, born in the Year of the Dog and the Pig, respectively, are expected to hit hurdles this year.
“They both have to worry about the snake in the grass, which is Bloomberg,” said CLSA bank analyst Marco Yau, referring to former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is mulling a presidential run. “Bloomberg is born in the Year of the Snake, and 2016 is a good year for the snake.”
For those looking to buy houses in Hong Kong, the year will favour eastern and western districts like Chai Wan and Kennedy Town while areas in the northeast and south like Quarry Bay and Aberdeen should be avoided.