Elementary analysis

In Chinese philosophy, the five elements provide a basic framework to understand relationships. Each year, wood, fire, earth, metal and water dance around each other, some ruling throughout, others bursting out for a month or so. A Feng Shui master will assess the relative strengths of each element at any given time. We apply Feng Shui theory to the markets by assigning certain industries to each element to determine their general trajectory. Portfolios perform best when the elements are equally weighted, so you can adjust your investments to get the best possible results. Remember, wood fuels fire; fire makes earth; metal comes from the earth and produces water, a fundamental ingredient for life. Conversely, water puts out fire; fire melts metal, making it weak; metal can cut through wood; and wood overcomes earth as roots grow down into the soil; and earth overcomes water.

Earth may be your mother, but for all the nutrients she's giving you this year, metal is going to come along and chop them down. The year should begin well, especially for those going back to study, and allied industries. There's a quiet patch in the spring before the best period of the year in early summer. At that time, expect anything that has relied on spring growth to flourish: medicine, clothing and even religious artefacts.

Tony Ren
Terrance Liu
Consumer Staples
Seungjoo Ro

Metal holds no fear for fire-related industries, but they may spend too much time and energy on turning ore to slag this year. Late spring and late summer should be the two best periods for industries, from makeup and toys to psychologists, beauty treatments and plastic surgery. Expect a weak end to the year, but a pick-up in the one to follow for oil and telecommunications.

Elinor Leung
Sebastian Hou
Shantnu Phutela

The Ox may be of the very earth itself, yet its energies are going to be spent on drying up water and producing metal. Expect industries such as construction to muddle through without flourishing. When wood, which draws energy from the earth, is weak during the latter part of the year, we could see timely improvements in fields such as rare stones, leather work and ceramics.

Lance Noble
China Reality Research
Alvin Wong
Timothy Lee

Metal is running through the chart this year, under the direction of water. It may weaken a little from late spring to late summer as more fire enters, but should return to good form once the fire dies off around the Mid-Autumn festival. Expect lawyers, the courts and conflict resolution companies to flourish. Banks and other financial institutions will do well. Appraisers from auction houses and private concerns will also be fully engaged.

Hans Fan
Ken Shin
Jon Barden

This is the final year in which water will pour through the chart. There'll be some restraint on the flow with the Ox being attached to the earth, which soaks up water. But water produces metal and there's a lot of metal crying out to be made. Spring and late autumn look like the best periods for water-related industries. Travel and transport will rise later in the year, while logistics, shipping and trade should be well in place through the spring.

Jon Galligan
Jisheng Liu
Hotels and Leisure