CLSA

Fung shui outlook shows strong finish for 2011

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 February, 2011, 12:00am

Although lighthearted, CLSA's Feng Shui Index has gained quite a following since it was first produced as a Lunar New Year card for clients in 1992.

'We get a lot of requests for this sort of research and we do it because people like it,' said Francis Cheung Yiu-cheong, CLSA's head of China/Hong Kong strategy.

'Obviously we don't recommend people follow it seriously, but fung shui is generally part of our culture. I am not sure how much it actually influences people's decisions but I think people just like to be aware of what it predicts.' Last year's index turned out to be pretty accurate in predicting the ups and downs of the Hang Seng Index and the meteoric rise of gold.

Its only slip was failing to predict the market plunge in November, which, says Cheung, was caused by the spike in inflation on the mainland.

For this year, Cheung's personal predictions are not too different from the index - a weak first half for the market as Beijing tries to get inflation and liquidity under control, followed by a strong second half.

'When China is tightening, the market doesn't do very well,' Cheung says. 'If you look at the fung shui index, the forecast is not good for the first half My feeling is that China should be able to get inflation under control by the end of the first half and, if it does, we will have a pretty big rally.

'In fact, I would be more bullish than the rabbit index for the second half. People will want to buy and we will see a big rally for the second half.'

Cheung foresees the market rising by about 25 per cent this year, with CLSA's top picks being carmaker Great Wall Motors (metal), Sands China (water), GCL-Poly Energy (fire) and internet company Baidu (fire).

He is less bullish about gold but sees it edging higher, along with property, which he expects to rise 10 per cent.

'People have money, interest rates are low, rental revenues are OK and affordability levels are OK, which means property could head higher. All in all, I think we are heading for a better than OK year.'