What fortune will the Year of the Snake bring you?

What fortune will the Year of the Snake bring you?
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Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 9:58pm

 If were born in the year of the Rooster, here's something to crow about: You are in for a "ss-super" 2013. Likewise, it's going to be a strong year if you're a Dog or an Ox.

Too bad, however, if you're a Snake.

On Sunday we say farewell to the Dragon and welcome the Year of the Snake.

For the occasion, the Hong Kong brokerage CLSA has brought out its annual Feng Shui Index. Now in its 19th year, the index is a guide to your investment decisions -- specifically how the benchmark Hong Kong Hang Seng Index will perform -- over the next 12 months, based on the ancient Chinese art (or science, if you prefer) of feng shui.

If you are wondering what that entails, this report consults the experts on bazi (fortune charts), wu-xing (five-element theory) and xuan kong (flying stars).

CLSA itself describes the report as a light-hearted exercise. But before anyone dismisses this as a mere marketing ploy or mystical mumbo-jumbo, take a look at last year's forecast. It is a pretty close match to how the Hang Seng actually performed.

The brokerage has a team of about six people plus feng shui masters -- they won't say who they are -- working on the report for several months leading up to the publication.

What do the geomancers say? First the good news. It will be a good year for the Hang Seng, particularly in the first half and March is flagged as a standout month. It's interesting that March is also the month that the U.S. Congress has to deal with the debt-ceiling.

After June the ride gets much rougher and more volatile. A trading opportunity perhaps?

The CLSA index also looks at health, relationships and work for the year to come. If you were born in the year of the Rooster, Dog or Ox (Cow), it is going to be a great year, says the report.

If you are a Pig, Goat (Sheep), Tiger or Snake, it's best to fast forward to 2014. Interestingly, those with the same birth sign as the year sign invariably have bad years.

There's something else to keep in mind. The Snake sheds its skin, which in the Chinese horoscope signals new ideas or developments, both good and bad. The Depression year of 1929 was a Snake year, as was 1989 (Tiananmen Square) and 2001 (the 9/11 attacks). In fact the past five Snake years have not been very encouraging, says the report.

But this time around it will be different because all five elements -- earth, metal, wood, water and fire -- are present. In the first half of the year, fire is strong and fire drives markets higher, according to the report.

In the second half, the fire influence wanes and water starts rising, a bad sign for the markets.

The good news is that the year ends with the index higher than the start of the year.

The bad news is, if you are actually born a Snake, the year will be, in CLSA's own words, a bit of a "hisser."
 

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