People celebrating the Chinese New Year this week may have received tiny red envelopes with cash to bring in the new lunar year with good fortune.
But some might also be looking beyond the envelopes into what else the Year of the Monkey may bring for their wallets.
As customary, feng shui experts in China and elsewhere are unveiling their forecasts for the year -- and the outlook may not bode well for people's personal finances. For those investors seeking a lighthearted way to analyze the chaos that is characterizing markets this year, here is what some feng shui experts say to expect.
Some use the philosophy of feng shui, which means "wind-water" in English, to position themselves to bring more harmony and luck into their lives. Each year is associated with one of 12 animals. Each animal gets rotated every month throughout the year. And every year is linked to one of five elements -- fire, water, metal, wood and earth.
This new lunar year, which officially began on Monday, is known as a year of the "fire monkey." Since the monkey is associated with metal, feng shui says that this year is one of fire burning over metal, which some interpret as a sign that markets could get heated.
"In this year most of investors and bankers are worried about the gloomy economic performance," said Raymond Lo, a professional feng shui consultant in Hong Kong who releases annual forecasts.
But most of that turbulence happened in January, he said, which was a month of the ox clashing with the year of the goat for 2015. The clash "destroyed all the fire hidden inside the goat," leading to fear and nervousness, Lo said in an email responding to questions.
Those worries could be replaced with optimism this spring and summer, he said, because the element of fire is mostly associated with positive energy that could carry over to the economy and the stock market.
The tongue-in-cheek feng shui index released by CLSA Limited, a brokerage and investment firm in China, said metal- and water-related industries will gain strength in the first half of the year. That includes not only precious metals like silver and gold, but also autos, financials and machinery.
However, things may get ugly for oil, gas and the technology sector at the end of the year when the "Monkey runs amok in the final quarter," the index cautions.
Lo also said market turbulence could return in the fall. "The positive energy is not long lasting," he said, adding that "there will be disappointment in autumn." Not that he is calling for a bear market. In his view, the U.S. recovery will continue and China will stabilize.
Of course, as CLSA tells its clients, most investors should keep in mind that this is "pure monkey-business, to be taken with a grain of salt." Don't go ditching your stocks for gold just yet.
© 2016 The Washington Post