Roll up your sleeves and put your thinking caps on because this will be a good year for career building and academic pursuits, according to Au Chung-tak, an astrologist and fung shui master of almost 20 years. The start of the Chinese fortune-telling calendar is marked by the beginning of spring at 1am on February4, according to the Gregorian calendar. What happens at that moment sets the tone for the rest of the year, Mr Au says. This year, spring arrives under the gaze of men cheong, the star that favours 'quiet' activities such as study and work. This bodes well for those engaged in studies or looking to advance their careers, he says. However, Mr Au warns that the first day of spring is inauspicious for the 'water' element, which is associated with all money matters. As this year falls under the sign of the wood rooster, which implies tension and conflict, Mr Au also warns of disputes and clashes. The last time the wood rooster strutted and clucked in 1945, the United States dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On the bright side, it will be a year for romancing as the wood rooster brings into alignment a combination of celestial influences called 'peach blossoms'. Thus, singles can look forward to this year with starry-eyed optimism but those already attached should be wary of letting their flirtations go too far. Economy With the stars providing little protection on the financial plane, expect weaker economic growth this year, as people have less money to spend and invest. Stock market By the same token, be wary of an unstable stock market and financial disputes. The influence of the star kip choi also warns of fresh financial scandals. Property market Although it is a good year for the 'earth' element associated with the property market, negative influences suggest a slower year. Politics It will generally be a good year for Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, who is ruled by the 'gold' and 'water' elements. However, his health is a concern and illness may force him to cut short his term in office. Meanwhile, 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung could be in for a rough ride. His pak gi, or the 'eight characters' which mark his exact date and time of birth, conflict with his place of work, namely the government this year.