What better than red packets to fix economic slump? President Hu Jintao (below) can make all of the mainland's 1.3 billion people happy this Lunar New Year by giving each of them a 1,000 yuan (HK$1,135) lai see. The suggestion comes from a mainland newspaper, the China Securities Daily, which ran a full-page editorial yesterday saying its 1.3 trillion yuan proposal was the simplest, most direct, most effective and most powerful way to stimulate consumption and help the economy. Not only would it help the country weather the financial storm, but it would also improve the chances of achieving the 8 per cent GDP growth target set by the government, the newspaper said. The idea of giving lai see to each citizen is becoming increasingly popular. At a financial conference in Nanjing a few weeks ago, Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Mundell suggested the mainland government should give away 1 trillion yuan in shopping coupons to its citizens. Taiwan did just that last year, distributing NT$82.9 billion (HK$19.17 billion) worth of shopping vouchers, NT$3,600 to each of the island's 23 million population. And late last month, the Japanese government announced it would be giving 12,000 yen (HK$1,045) to each resident, including 2 million registered foreign residents, as part of its 64 trillion yen stimulus package. Unfortunately, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen offered no such lai see in his taskforce's response to the financial crisis yesterday. So, now the question is: will President Hu take the bull by the horns in the Year of the Ox? Where to put your lai see We hope nobody took Credit Suisse's advice on how best to spend their lai see money last year. The Swiss bank's preference for small-cap stocks saw them all fall in tandem with the Hang Seng Index, producing an average negative 40 per cent return. It had head of China research Vincent Chan concluding at yesterday's annual gathering that the best investment advice should have been to put your money in a yuan savings account. But that's all in the past. This year, Credit Suisse says you should put your lai see money in ... wait for it ... stocks. A case of deja vu? Not at all, says the bank. Equities offer the best risk and returns. It backs up the advice by pointing out that the average gearing of Hong Kong corporates these days is about 10 per cent, or half of what the debt-equity ratio was during the Asian financial crisis, meaning they are much more defensive. And what about HSBC? Better buy in March after the results announcement, says Credit Suisse. That's another way of saying you should put your lai see money in the bank for a month, in a yuan account, of course. And now, what BOCI sees BOC International is the latest financial firm to jump on the fung shui bandwagon this week, after ABN Amro and CLSA, and make a few predictions about the Year of the Ox. The Bank of China subsidiary prefers to look at sectors rather than individual companies, arriving at its buy or sell recommendations after taking into account the elemental signs along with the views of a fung shui expert, its 'Huaqiao in the Middle Kingdom' research team and its Hong Kong analysts. Accordingly, the sectors that will outperform are agricultural, consumer, hotels and gaming, media and entertainment (nice to know!) and airlines. The sectors to avoid are automotive, banks, machinery, power equipment, marine and land transportation. Ill-timed toast for hacks Groucho Marx said: 'I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.' But even he might have been tempted by the latest offer from the renowned Ice House Street watering hole, the Foreign Correspondents Club. From now until the middle of July, foreign correspondents and locally employed hacks who sign up will only have to pay a monthly service charge of HK$300 for the first year and HK$600 for the second year before graduating to the current HK$950. The joining fee has also been halved to HK$2,000 for correspondents and HK$1,000 for local journalists. However, with media organisations sacking staff and cutting or freezing wages all over town, we don't hold out a great deal of hope for the FCC's 'best deal yet'.