Feng shui says Snake Year to bring market gains and disaster risk

By Grace Li, Reuters

HONG KONG — The coming Year of the Snake will see financial markets slither higher as optimism grows, although the risk of disasters and territorial disputes in Asia also looms, say practitioners of the ancient Chinese art of feng shui. Believers in the Chinese form of geomancy maintain the universe is made up of five elements — earth, water, fire, wood and metal — that define the collective mood in the world. The Snake Year starting on Feb. 10 contains much fire, which brings energy, but also water, which tempers more negative fire traits. “We will see a lot of positive energy coming and people will have more confidence in economic recovery,” said feng shui master Raymond Lo, adding that a lack of the fire element led to financial woes and doomsday speculation over the last few years. “The stock market is already going up. Even stronger fire will come in 2014, the Year of the Horse, and that means longer-term recovery could be quite substantial and will last for a few years,” he said.

Global stocks climbed to their highest in nearly two years last Friday, helped by upbeat manufacturing and employment data that signaled a recovery is on track.

Lai Hon-fai, another seer in the Asian financial center, agrees that the even more promising Year of the Horse could further boost Hong Kong’s benchmark stock index, the Hang Seng.