Houston Community News >> Year of the Pig a Good Time to Invest

2/16/2007 - Are you a pig with your money? Do you like to hoard it and roll around in it? If so, this could be your lucky year, according to the Chinese calendar. Sunday Feb. 18 begins the Year of the Pig. The Chinese believe that pigs are the symbol of money and prosperity and the luckiest of all the astrology animals. Legend has it that if you save or invest money during the Year of the Pig, it will be a wise decision.

"People like to use the piggy bank as a symbol of fortune because the pig is fat," says Mali Hsu, chairwoman of the Colorado Springs, Colo., Chinese Cultural Institute and a local Realtor. "The ancient belief is only rich people get fat."

Hsu is expecting her business to continue to grow in the Year of the Pig, and according to lore, that has a good chance of happening.

According to Shelly Wu, author of "Chinese Astrology: Exploring the Eastern Zodiac," the pig bodes well for home builders and homeowners, meaning home prices will race ahead of the eventual housing market recovery, she writes on her Web site.

Hsu expects more activity in home purchases in the Springs from the California Chinese community in the form of rental-property investments. Hsu continues to promote the Springs at trade shows in California that are directed at the hundreds of thousands of Chinese who live there.

"They don't know anything about Colorado, so it's a good opportunity to introduce them to our city," she said. "My business has been doing well, so this year I'm more focusing on the Chinese community because they do believe in fortune, especially from California."

In addition to housing, the health care and luxury-goods industries could also benefit investors.

"The pig is supposed to be a symbol of fertility, and it's very good luck to have children born in the Year of the Pig," says Wally Astor, a vice president at Colorado Technical University who recently visited China. "The clinics and hospitals in China won't be able to meet the needs. Medical services certainly are going to see a big increase."

The pig is believed to be highly intelligent, very honest, very generous and often self-indulgent, Astor says.

"That being the case, I think the markets for high-end consumer goods, especially in China, could be an indicator so those businesses could profit more."

Raymond Lo, a feng shui and destiny consultant, has another take on money and pigs.

"The economy in the year 2007 showed yin fire on the Heavenly stem. Fire is the symbol of the financial market and yin fire is illusive candle fire. Illusion of a good market can also generate over optimism that will drive up the stock market in the first half of 2007, when the spring and summer months of wood and fire make the candle fire appear stronger. However, yin fire standing on water pig - the terminator of fire, is illusory fire," he writes on his Web site.

His conclusion is illusion. We think the markets are hot so they are, but come summer reality will set in and stocks will reverse.

"Investors have to be cautious towards autumn and winter as there will be substantial set back as the fire element will disappear in 2008, the year of the Earth Rat."

The good news is his forecast doesn't see as severe a market setback as in the past.

One thing that may cause the stock market to squeal is the belief that the Year of the Pig is bad for those born in the Year of the Snake, astrologists say. That includes Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke. Snake signs in 2007 are susceptible to heart problems and accidents while traveling.

Obviously, if anything happens to Bernanke, the stock market would have a cow.

(Contributed by Gazatte)