A 'Hoppy' New Year For Hong Kong Stocks? A Hong Kong-based brokerage has been trying to use traditional Chinese beliefs in its economic forecast as the Year of the Tiger gives way to the Year of the Golden Rabbit on Thursday. It prediction: volatility ahead for Hong Kong markets.

A 'Hoppy' New Year For Hong Kong Stocks?

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NPR's business news starts with Asian markets sliding.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: Asian stocks were down, and oil prices have been up, on concerns about the political uncertainty in Egypt - at least, we assume that's why the markets are moving.

Nobody really knows why thousands, or even millions, of investors buy one stock of sell another. And it turns out that some Asian investors have other issues on their minds.

This week marks the Chinese New Year, and its the Year of the Golden Rabbit.

NPR's Louisa Lim reports on a brokerage in Hong Kong that issues market forecasts based on Chinese astrology.

LOUISA LIM: The Year of the Rabbit promises to be a hoppy new year. That's according to Hong Kong brokerage CLSA. Its annual forecast, based on the traditional Chinese beliefs of feng shui, warns of volatility ahead for Hong Kong's markets.

Heres CLSAs feng shui economist, Philip Chow.

Mr. PHILIP CHOW (Economist, CLSA): Last year; we were forecasting a tiger leap i.e. in the second half, the markets sort of shoot up, which is exactly what played out all the way until November. But the rabbit doesnt sort of leap; the rabbit hops. Every time it hops a bit up, it turns around. And then it sort of shoots up its ears and - try to see whether its safe to go on, and then it hops up again. Even on the way up, the stock markets going to be in a zigzag format, even though its sort of still northward bound.

LIM: As for investment advice based on the Chinese elements, CLSA concludes metal is hot, water is bubbling, fire is on fire.

Mr. CHOW: That will account for financials, and also some of the raw materials sectors, such as metallic mining or steel. The other sector thats water related would naturally involve something that's traveling: lodging stocks, gaming stocks, and also on the transport side, the airlines and shipping all fall into that category.

LIM: Be warned: The forecast is tongue-in-cheek. But feng shui investors should bear one thing in mind. Last year, CLSAs feng shui forecast was correct for nine out of the 12 months.

Louisa Lim, NPR News, Beijing.

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