HONG KONG, Jan 17 (Reuters) - The Year of the Rat bodes well for Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, with shares across sectors from homebuilders to healthcare tipped to do well, according to Hong Kong-based brokerage CLSA’s Feng Shui Index.
There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac and January 25 will mark the beginning of the Year of the Rat. The tongue-in-cheek forecast predicts Hang Seng, the city’s equity benchmark, will finish this year just below the summer high.
“The ever-resilient Rat will sharpen its teeth and claws to operate at a high level and keep the cats away from the cheese,” CLSA said in a press release on Friday.
The year is in for a cracking start with “newly implemented regulatory measures... expected to improve business conditions,” it added. After taking a breather in March, “gains will be made in all sectors through to the summer.”
“Late spring and early summer could be a golden patch,” the brokerage said.
The index had a tumultuous 2019 amid U.S.-China trade tensions and six months of social unrest that took a heavy toll on the economy, in particular the retail and tourism sectors, although it still managed 9% gains from the previous year.
The benchmark index is up more than 3% so far this month.
“There is little water in the chart, although metal produces water and will push tourism and casinos along. Travel and shipping may be down a little while logistics companies should find their goods flowing,” CLSA said.
CLSA’s predictions, based on the five elements in Chinese astrology - wood, metal, earth, fire and water - also tip healthcare and consumer shares to rise in March and late summer.
Banks and financials are on the back foot in October and November, when ‘metal’ is weak and ‘fire’ dominant, while fire-related industries such as technology will enjoy a ‘water drought’ rally in early summer, October and November.
Property and other earth-based industries will surge except for a short spell of weakness between August and November.
In Hong Kong’s real estate market - one of the world’s most expensive - the Six White star that hovers in the Southeast will bring wealth and achievement and “offices located here will greatly benefit”.
Investors should avoid the North, East and South of the city where more troubling stars lie.
CSLA started the Feng Shui Index in 1992 as a Lunar New Year card for clients. (Reporting by Felix Tam; Writing by Noah Sin; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Shailesh Kuber)