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The Hang Seng Index (HSI) is expected to see a decent start to the Year of the Monkey, followed by some volatility, a mid-year downward swing and then a recovery,

according to the CLSA Feng Shui Index - the popular tongue-in-cheek annual financial forecast for Hong Kong's benchmark index.

"Since the coming year is a 'fire monkey' year, there'll be conflicts and opportunities in the stock market, combined with ups and downs in the market just like the way monkeys behave," Cherry Ma, technology analyst at CLSA, said on Thursday.

But, despite the ups and downs, the HSI's overall trend will be positive just like all previous Monkey years, said Ma, adding that CLSA believes the city's benchmark will climb to 24,000 this year.

Metals and water-related industries will strengthen in the first half of the "fire monkey" year - not only silver and gold, but the automobile, financial, gaming, transport and machinery sectors are all due to prosper, according to the CLSA index.

However, after a reasonable start, things will turn upside down for the oil and gas, utility, technology, telecoms and Internet sectors as the "monkey" runs amok in the final quarter.

Stocks of gaming and transportation companies may underperform most of the time in the coming year, said Ma, who suggested that investors avoid these stocks.

"For the property sector, we expect clearer skies out at Chek Lap Kok and we give both East and West our 'banana' (great) rating," she said.

This means it will be very good to live or work in Chai Wan and Kennedy Town, as the districts are located to the east and west of Hong Kong Island, while people should avoid purchasing new homes or offices in Quarry Bay and Aberdeen as they are to the northeast and south of Hong Kong Island and are "toadstools".

According to the Feng Shui Index, it will be a good year for people born in the years of the Ox or the Snake. For those born in the "fire monkey" year, like Taiwan's new leader Tsai Ing-wen, the stars favor work, travel and finance. It will be a mongrel year for "fire dogs" like Donald Trump, who should watch his cash outflow and beware of the "golden-tongued" Hillary Clinton, who was born in the year of the "fire pig", and is thus a good pal of the monkey.

In the 60-year "Stems and Branches", the "fire monkey" year will be a year to set things up for a stronger future. That's good news for the Chinese mainland as it sets about shoring up its Belt and Road Initiative with wealth and security the two guiding motives for the nation's modern "Journey to the West". Overall, it will be a year for slow, considered expansion, not for raucous monkey antics.

The Hang Seng Index surged 0.75 percent at the close of trading on Thursday.

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Despite ups and downs, the Hang Seng Index's overall trend will be positive just like all previous Monkey years, according to the latest CLSA Feng Shui Index, and the brokerage firm believes the city's benchmark will climb to 24,000 this year. Bobby Yip / Reuters

(HK Edition 01/29/2016 page8)

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