CLSA expects the Chinese Year of the Rabbit to reward Hong Kong investors with plenty of carrots, provided they remain patient in what is likely to be a series of “hop-and-stop” moments.

Publishing its 17th tongue-in-cheek Feng Shui Index report on expectations for the new cycle, which follows on from the Year of the Tiger on February 2, CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets forecasts a healthy dose of luck and material gain for Hong Kong stock market investors.

But, with a continuation of last year’s conflict between heavenly metal stem and earthly wood branch, Francis Chueng, head of China-Hong Kong strategy, and analyst Phillip Chow stress the need for self-discipline to stomach likely volatility.

They predict a slow start to the year, with the rabbit reluctant to emerge from its hole for fear the tiger still lingers. March calls for patience as opposing forces test investor metal. But the rabbit will find its feet in April, when CLSA predicts a market pick-up.

The period of rebound is forecast to extend to May, when investors should note one of the year’s four most auspicious dates: May 14. But a tumble is expected in June, providing a buying opportunity.

The stock market should heat up in tune with the weather this summer, with the brokerage predicting that the Heng Sang Index will rise sharply in July and August.

The zig-zag pattern will repeat itself during the autumn, with a sharp but short decline in September followed by a sustained market rally through to the end of November.

The blues will hang over the market during December, but the bunny will soon bounce back to close the year on a high in January 2012.

CLSA’s ‘feng shui masters’ urge investors to pay attention to the five elements, suggesting it will be a great year for financials, gaming, gold, resources and transport, but not an exciting time for the earth-related property sector.

“While gold didn’t break $2,000 per ounce as we predicted in 2010, we are confident the rabbit will provide the carrot this year,” they say.

They highlight the year’s most auspicious dates as May 14, August 4, November 15 and January 16, and the most inauspicious as June 16, June 22, September 23 and December 15.

In terms of the Chinese Zodiac, 2011 most favours those born in the years of the Ox, the Goat, the Dog and the Pig, while Tigers and Roosters are expected to experience a bumpy year.

The masters foresee a great year for Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s heir to the Dear Leader, a water dog, and US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, who is a water snake.

“All in all, the year of the Metal Rabbit provides great opportunity for investors to reap the rewards of astute investing, but they should be forewarned: those who chase two rabbits will not catch one,” they conclude.