Year of the Snake: Snake, Rattle & Roll

ChineseNewYearWith a final swing of his mighty tail, the Dragon makes his final appearance on the world stage on 9 February 2013. Yes, the Year of the Dragon is finally drawing to a close.

Over the past twelve months, the Dragon presided over a number of larger-than-life events. Even the mundane US Presidential election was turned into a protracted and thought-provoking media happening. Doubts over whether President Obama would be re-elected for a second term hung in the balance until the eleventh hour.

In the sporting arena, the world watched on as Michael Phelps swam his way to become the most decorated Olympian of all time. He claimed six medals at the London 2012 Olympic to add to the 16 he already won to bring his final tally to 22 medals.

And in the financial markets, the year was marked with turbulence in which the rise of the Straits Times index was punctuated by on-going concerns over the European debt crisis and the US fiscal cliff. As it turned out, the cliff was nothing more than a figment of the media’s imagination. Believers of Chinese astrology will claim these seemingly erratic movements merely mirrored the characteristic undulating motions of the Dragon.

So, as the Dragon gives way to the Serpent, what can investors expect from The Year of the Snake? Will world stock markets rattle higher or simply slither lower?

The Year of the Snake is expected to herald a much calmer time. It may be a period for quiet reflection and discreet re-adjustment. But it may also be one of considerable opportunity.

The Snake is credited with great intelligence and superior communications skills. It is also graceful and respected for its good looks and style. (Somehow, it’s hard to imagine a good-looking snake.) The serpent is also highly regarded for its healing properties, which may come as a bit of a shock for those who have been on the receiving end of Hissing Sid’s fangs.

So, could the Year of the Snake bode well for businesses involved in the field of learning and education? Might it be a good year for Raffles Education (NYSE: RFLFF.US) and Singapore Press Holdings (NYSE: SGPRY.US)? May it also be a good year for telecommunications and media companies such as Singapore Telecom (NYSE: SGAPY.US) and StarHub (NYSE: SRHBY.US)? Could it also portend well for the fashion industry and augur well for medical breakthroughs?

We will return in twelve months’ time to review the “predications” for the Year of the Snake. I am sure, as ever, it will be an eventful year that will be full of twist and turns. But if you are invested in good shares and stay away from those who speak with forked-tongues, then it should be another year of great opportunity.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore Director David Kuo doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.