Monday, May 25, 2015

Jupiter continues to underwrite stock markets

(25 May 2015)  Stocks remained fairly strong last week as the release of the minutes of the latest Fed meeting suggested an early rate hike was very unlikely.  Markets love zero interest rates of course (literally, free money) as investors chase yield in riskier assets like equities since safe assets like cash and bonds offer very little return.   US stocks were actually mostly unchanged on the week as the Dow closed at 18,232, just a stone's throw away from its all-time high.  Indian stocks were more positive as foreign institutional buying picked up as the Sensex gained 2% closing at 27,957. 

I thought we might have got more downside on the Saturn alignments on Monday and Friday but only Friday was mildly negative.  The midweek gains more or less coincided with the positive Venus-Mercury alignment. 

Stock markets around the world are still very much in rally mode these days as central banks continue their unprecedented attempts to kick start the largely stagnant global economy through the experimental program known as quantitative easing.  As long as the Fed, the ECB and all the other central banks are determined to print money through these asset buying QE programs, some people believe that stocks could continue to rise indefinitely.  I don't think this is possible in any event as the growing worldwide debt burden will eventually have to collapse.   Moreover, my understanding of the key astrological influences at work suggest some significant problems ahead. 

For the moment, collective sentiment appears to be supported by the condition of the planet Jupiter.  Jupiter is the bullish planet par excellence and it is still exalted here in sidereal Cancer.  When a planet transits through its sign of exaltation it is said to be able to better express its more positive qualities.  After transiting through Cancer for the past year or so, Jupiter will finally leave Cancer and enter the sign of Leo in mid-July.  I don't think this Jupiter exaltation is the primary reason for the current market rally but it is a noteworthy secondary reason nonetheless. 

Another factor at work is that Jupiter (22 Cancer) has aligned with Pluto (21 Sagittarius) in May.   Jupiter aspects with other slow moving planets like Pluto are often moments where optimism is on the rise.  The other more important influence here is that Jupiter is still applying to its 120-degree trine aspect with Uranus on June 22nd. 

Jupiter-Uranus aspects are usually reliable indications of rising stock markets.  There are exceptions, of course, as with all planetary alignments.  One notable exception was that the 1987 crash occurred just a week before an exact Jupiter-Uranus aspect.  The Jupiter influence there may have acted as an amplifier for more dominant negative conditions such as the Uranus ingress into sidereal Sagittarius one day before the crash, the conjunction of Mars with Ketu (South Lunar Node) and the proximity of Saturn to the Uranus node, among others.

Generally, however, Jupiter-Uranus aspects mark time periods when optimism is growing and prices are rising.  These time periods typically last for a few weeks before the aspect is exact.  If one or more of the planets is retrograde or stationary, then that can lengthen the time period when these bullish influences can manifest as happened in 2010. 

Things can change once the Jupiter aspect is past exact and optimism fades.  The presence of any offsetting bearish Saturn aspects are other parts to the cosmic equation, of course.  We are due to have several Saturn aspects in the next several months as Saturn aligns with Pluto (June), Jupiter (July-August) and then Rahu (North Lunar Node)(September).  With Saturn on the rise and Jupiter due to recede into the background a bit, there is good reason to be very cautious about the future of the stock market.

More immediately, this week looks worse than last week in terms of planetary influences.  The main aspect in play is the Mercury-Mars conjunction on Wednesday at 16 Taurus.  Mars aspects are often negative, and this one looks a bit worse given the larger alignment with Rahu (14 Virgo) and Neptune (15 Aquarius).    This clustering of planets at the middle degrees of their respective signs increases the likelihood of some significant declines during the week.  Jupiter will likely be there offering some support, but these short term aspects look troublesome. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

What do the stars predict for stocks over the next year?

(17 May 2015)  The New York Stock Exchange is 223 years old today.  On May 17, 1792, near the corner of Broad and Wall Streets in lower Manhattan, the first regulated trading of stocks and bonds took place.  The auspiciousness of the planets on that date would foretell the NYSE becoming the largest and most well-known stock exchange in the world. 

As a time-based science, astrology takes special notice of birthdays.  Each birthday marks the return of the Sun to its place at the time of birth. The resulting Solar Return (or Varshphal) chart can provide hints of what will happen in the year to come.  When benefic planets like Venus or Jupiter are prominent in the Solar Return chart, positive outcomes are more likely.  Conversely, a birthday that falls at a time when malefics like Saturn or Mars are prominent will tend to indicate a year of difficulties and challenges. 

This year's Solar Return chart for the NYSE is very mixed.  On one hand, there is a nice conjunction of the Moon with Venus opposite Pluto which also aligns with Jupiter in a lesser aspect.  This is a generally positive pattern that suggests that stocks may enjoy significant gains between now and May 2016.  On the other hand, Rahu forms an aspect with Mercury and Mars.  This is unhelpful for sentiment generally as suggests instability.  Even worse, there is a very close opposition aspect from Saturn to the Sun which is extremely negative.  Saturn is the most bearish planet for the stock market and its hard aspects (0/90/180 degrees) are usually the most difficult.  It is hard to see how stocks can move higher over the next 12 months with this close opposition aspect. 

We can see how previous hard aspects of Saturn to the Sun have corresponded with significant declines.  Saturn takes about 29 years to make a full revolution through the zodiac.  Therefore, it takes about 7-7.5 years to move through a 90-degree arc.  The last major Saturn-Sun hard aspect occurred in 2008 when global markets plunged during the Great Recession.  Saturn (8 Leo) squared the Sun (6 Taurus) within just two degrees.  Even though this was not a full-strength Vedic aspect, it was close enough that it likely was a major reason why the markets declined 35% from May 2008 to May 2009.  

Interestingly, the previous hard Saturn aspect to the Sun before that occurred in 2001.  The conjunction was almost four degrees from exact but it will still quite close.  The Dow Jones Industrial average lost 16% from May 2001 to May 2002.    There may well have been other negative factors in the Solar Return to account for this decline but I suspect that the Saturn-Sun conjunction was still key. 

The bottom line here is that Saturn-Sun aspects that occur near the Solar Return chart on May 17th (or rather the 21st thanks to the precession of the equinoxes) will tend to have a depressing effect on the stock market.  While it is only one factor, I would think that it could well outweigh other positive factors in the chart.  This is another indication that stocks are likely to suffer a decline over the coming 12 months. 

Weekly Financial Forecast

Stocks ended modestly higher for the most part last week on news that China cut interest rates again and would likely begin its own QE program to boost its economy.  The Dow gained a half of one percent finishing at 18,272 while the Indian Sensex added one percent to 27,324.  I thought we might have seen more downside on the late week Mars-Saturn aspect but stocks were actually fairly strong on Friday.  Tuesday was more negative as expected, however, and that correlated closely with the entry of Mars into tropical Gemini.

This week has some significant Saturn action as Monday's sees the Moon align with Mars opposite Saturn.   Generally, that should be a signal for caution.  Friday's Sun-Saturn opposition aspect is also problematic as confidence is often in short supply.  In between, we could see some gains as Mercury aligns with Venus.  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

UK election aftermath: Cameron wins big

(10 May 2015)  By all accounts, Thursday's UK election was one of the most dramatic in years as David Cameron's Conservatives scored a surprising victory over a humiliated Labour Party.  The Conservatives shocked pollsters by winning an outright majority of seats and therefore they did not require a coalition as in the previous parliament.   Nicola Sturgeon's SNP was the other big winner on Thursday as her pro-independence party took 56 out of a possible 59 seats in Scotland.  Despite last year's defeat of the Scottish referendum, this huge win will likely put the independence issue back on the table.  

The big losers on the night were Labour's Ed Miliband who resigned immediately after the disastrous results were announced.  Nick Clegg and Liberal Democrats were reduced to a rump of just eight seats and he also resigned after the election.   Finally, UKIP's Nigel Farage kept his promise and resigned after he failed to win his own seat. 

Cameron's win was certainly in line with my interpretation of the planets of the party leaders.  Last week, I was quite confident in predicting that Cameron and the Conservatives would win the election.  His chart was looking strong using a variety of indicators -- the Sun dasha, the Jupiter transit to the 11th house, the Venus transit to the 10th, as well as a few different progressions.  But I was a bit unclear just how he would win, however, since the horoscope of his then coalition partner Nick Clegg of the LDP didn't look very good.  Now we know why -- the LDP party lost most of its seats and popular support as he was forced to resign. I had wondered if Clegg's weak planets might somehow translate into a lower seat total but still big enough for the LDP to keep Cameron in power.  But as it turned out, Cameron's win was so big that no additional seats were needed.  While Cameron's win was quite predictable using astrology, it was unclear just how big the win would be.  This is one of the limitations of doing political predictions in multi-party Parliamentary systems where not all wins are created equal.  By contrast, the US two-party system produces unequivocal results that better lend themselves to clear predictions. 

Nicola Sturgeon's success was also not surprising given her powerful Jupiter-Mars dasha as well as the transit of Jupiter through her 10th house.  I thought the nodal transit of (Rahu) to her difficult 6/12 house axis might cause some problems.  Perhaps the weakness of Labour and the strength of the Conservatives meant that her ultimate goal of a governing coalition with Labour could not occur.  But the size of the SNP sweep certainly took  a lot of the sting out of that failed scenario. 

Miliband's chart was as bad as forecast.  There was very little chance he could win with his weak Mercury-Moon dasha.  He also suffered a nodal transit to the 6/12 axis.

From my perspective, the biggest puzzle of the election was Nigel Farage and UKIP.  I thought we would have been more successful given his fairly good Rahu-Jupiter dasha and the Jupiter transit to his Sun.   While the UKIP only won one seat, they did raise their vote total from 3% in 2010 to more than 12%.  That was positive result for Farage to be sure and reflected the UKIP growth in popularity over the past several years.  However, his failure to win his own seat meant that he had to resign the party leadership so I missed the mark there.  In hindsight, the Saturn opposition transit to his 10th lord Venus (=status) was likely one reason why he suffered this setback.  But the story of Farage and UKIP may not yet have been written, since many commentators expect him to stand again for re-election as party leader in their next convention in September.  Unlike Clegg and Miliband, Farage's election night resignation may only be temporary.   I hope to revisit this intriguing question of Farage's political future in the coming weeks.

David Cameron's swearing-in chart may provide more information about the nature and direction of his new administration.  I would think the swearing-in horoscope could help us better understand the risks of Scottish secession during the next five years.

Weekly Financial Update

Stocks were mixed last week as US and European markets mostly rose while Asian markets including India moved lower.  I had been fairly cautious about last week given the range of planetary influences in play.  I thought we might have seen more selling in the second half of the week but stocks were generally weaker from Tuesday until Thursday in most markets. 

This week looks similarly iffy as Saturn is again prominent as Mars opposes it on Friday.  The aspect brings together the two most malefic planets in astrology and hence should be seen as a warning.   Gains are still possible but they are more likely to be erased by any sudden sell-offs.  Mars enters tropical Gemini on Tuesday so that is an added burden on collective sentiment this week.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Camerons seeks second term as the UK goes to the polls

(3 May 2015)  Britain goes to the polls on Thursday as the electorate decides if Prime Minister David Cameron deserves a second mandate.  Cameron and his Conservative Party won the last election but required a coalition with Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats to form a government.  Most observers are predicting another "hung parliament" in which no single party has a majority of the 650 seats.   Recent polls show a virtual dead heat in popular support for the Conservatives and the Labour Party.  However, most seat projections gives the Tories a slim edge over Labour due to uneven vote distribution but not enough to form a government.  It therefore seems likely that the winner of this election will again require to form another alliance with a smaller party to reach the critical 326 seat threshold. 

The left-leaning Scottish National Party (SNP) would seem to be a natural ally of Labor while the Liberal Democrats are more closely aligned with the Conservatives.  The right-wing UKIP has significant popular support but little chance of winning many seats.  The outcome of the election may therefore have as much to do with the success of these smaller parties as what happens to the two major parties.

After examining the key horoscopes, it seems most likely that Cameron will be re-elected.  Cameron has a number of positive factors at the moment.  He just began his Sun dasha in April and his Sun is well-placed in the 1st house in Virgo conjunct benefic Venus.  It is aspected by onerous Saturn but the orb is very wide -- more than twenty degrees.  Overall, his dashas are a plus, although it should be noted that they are rarely decisive factors. 

Cameron's transits also look good.  Jupiter is transiting his 11th house of gains and is in wide conjunction with his natal Jupiter and Moon.  On the day of the election on 7 May, transiting Venus will be in his 10th house just a couple of degrees from his equal 10th house cusp and Midheaven.  This gap of a few degrees could prove helpful since it may take several days after the election for Cameron to cement an alliance partner.  Venus will be exactly conjunct those 10th house cusps on the following weekend. Transiting Rahu (North Node) is conjunct his Venus which is typical for situations with positive outcomes.  Saturn sits on his equal 3rd house cusp which could indicate some very intense efforts and struggles but Saturn tends to do well in the 3rd house.  It also is not closely aspecting any other planet in his chart.  So Cameron's basic chart factors look good.  Some of the other factors I look at also seem positive.

By contrast, the horoscope of Labour leader Ed Miliband looks flat.  He is running the Mercury-Moon dasha.  Mercury is in the 9th house which is generally positive but not necessarily good for gaining political power.  The Moon is opposite Mercury in the 3rd house in Gemini.  This can symbolize strong and creative efforts to realize his goals but again, it is not a great influence for actually winning the election.  As an added burden, the Moon receives full strength Vedic aspects from Saturn and Rahu. So Miliband's dashas are mixed at best and not really helpful for his chances. 

His transits looks negative.  The Moon's Nodes, Rahu and Ketu, straddle his equal 6th and 12th house cusps.  This is often problematic as it means that suffering from conflict (6th house) and losses (12th house) are more likely at this time.  Jupiter is placed in the indifferent 4th house and does not form any close aspects that might be clearly beneficial.  Transiting Mars (2 Taurus) casts its 8th house aspect (i.e. quincunx) to Venus (1 Gemini) at the time of the election.  This is usually bad for happiness.  Transiting Mercury (13 Taurus) falls under the square aspect of his natal Mars (13 Aquarius).   Overall, Miliband's transits look quite negative and suggest he will not win. 

The chart of LDP leader Nick Clegg looks mixed.  His dashas aren't great as he is running Venus-Saturn.  Venus is fine in the 3rd house opposite Jupiter but Saturn isn't doing him any favours in the 5th house in a close opposition with Uranus.  While it does receive a helpful aspect from Jupiter, the Uranus aspect is closer and more problematic.  Transiting Saturn (8 Scorpio) is closely conjunct his Moon (9 Scorpio) in the 1st house.  By itself, this isn't necessarily a deal-breaker.  The difficulty for Clegg is that transiting Mars (2 Taurus) is opposite his Moon right now and hence it has to deal with both malefics Saturn and Mars in the aftermath of the election.  It's definitely not a recipe for a positive surprise on election night. 

It could still mean that Clegg could enter into another alliance with Cameron, but it may be one where he has less influence.  On the plus side, transiting Rahu (15 Virgo) is exactly conjunct his equal 11th house cusp.  The 11th house represents gains and Rahu usually does quite well in that house.  As an added plus, Rahu is conjunct the unequal 10th house cusp, (Midheaven).  This is usually good for status-related situations. 

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon could play the role of king-maker in this election as both main parties will likely come up short of the 326 needed to win.  Her chart looks quite good.  In April, she began her Jupiter-Mars dasha.  Jupiter is well-placed in the 1st house although is suffers from aspects from Saturn, Rahu and Mars.  Mars is placed in the 10th house in Cancer.  Although it is said to be debilitated here, it gets a shot of energy from its conjunctions with Sun and Mercury, as well as the opposition aspect from its dispositor, the Moon.  On balance, her dashas are positive.

Her transit situation is also pretty good.  Jupiter is transiting her 10th house of status so that bodes well for boosting her public profile.  But the nodes (15 Virgo/15 Pisces) are very close to her 6/12 axis (13 Virgo/13 Pisces) so that could upset her plans to achieve her ultimate goal.  Of course, the added wrinkle here is that goals may lack a simple definition.  Presumably, the best case scenario for Sturgeon and the SNP would be an alliance with Labour.  But would an alliance with the Tories be much different as long as the SNP gets what it wants for Scotland?  However unlikely that may sound, it is something to consider. 

UKIP's Nigel Farage is also likely to benefit in some way from this election as his chart is quite good.  UKIP is unlikely to play a key role in the formation of the next government as its support is not concentrated in enough constituencies to translate into many seats.  And yet, they could enhance their political legitimacy through increased seat and popular vote totals.  Farage is more likely to do well since he is running the Rahu-Jupiter dasha now.  His Rahu is placed in the 11th house of gains while Jupiter is acceptably placed in the 9th house with Mercury.  It is also in a tight aspect with the Moon.  Transiting Jupiter is in a close aspect with his Sun, a classic signature for success.  Farage's star is likely on the rise.

While I think the stars do favour the re-election of Cameron as PM, it is less clear how he gets there.  Clegg could assume a lesser role if the Conservative-LDP coalition is revived for another term.  Or somehow Sturgeon could prop up a Tory government.  We shall see.

Weekly Financial Forecast

Stocks were mostly lower last week on the rebounding price of oil and worries of a possible Greek default.  In New York, the Dow was down slightly closing at 18,024 while India's Sensex lost 400 points and finished at 27,011.  The decline was in keeping with expectations as I thought the Saturn-Uranus aspect and Venus-Mars alignment would likely act as drags on collective sentiment. 

This week looks similarly unsettled.  Mars enters sidereal Taurus on Monday so that could raise anxiety levels and push stocks lower.  The Sun's aspect with Jupiter on Monday might mitigate some of the negativity, however.  The second half of the week is more susceptible to declines as the Sun aligns with that ongoing Saturn-Uranus aspect.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Why have Chinese stocks doubled in the past six months?

(27 April 2015)  China's stock markets continued their stunning rally yesterday as investors reacted to the government's intention to launch its own QE program of buying assets in order to boost its slowing economy.  The Shanghai Stock Exchange Index has doubled in value since November and now stands at 4500.  The huge rally is the result of several factors including the electronic linking of the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges, the expectation that the People's Bank of China (PBOC) will undertake an even larger quantitative easing program as well as more relaxed margin rules that allow more investors to borrow money to buy shares. 

Astrology offers its own account for this rapid rise in Chinese stocks.  As is often the case, the planet Jupiter is pivotal in most bull market situations.  Jupiter is the planet of optimism and expansion and when it is activated in a natal chart by transit, we can see that stocks tend to rise. The Shanghai Stock Exchange was opened -- or rather re-opened -- on December 19, 1990 at 9.30 a.m.   This horoscope places Jupiter at 19 degrees of sidereal Cancer in the 7th house.  Is it a coincidence that bullish Jupiter is again sitting at 19 degrees of Cancer now after stationing at 18 Cancer just three weeks ago?  Probably not.  

Jupiter returns to its natal position every 12 years so this whole period around the transit conjunction was bound to be positive.  This is even more the case since Jupiter is in the 7th house and therefore it aspects its Ascendant.  Jupiter's 13-month long transit through the sign of Cancer is a positive influence for sentiment in the stock market, all other things being equal. 

Of course, we can't explain this rally solely in terms of the motion of one planet.  We can see that the ongoing Uranus-Pluto square may also have played a role in the rise.  At the time of the major acceleration of stock prices in November, Uranus (19 Pisces) and Pluto (18 Sagittarius) were both in tight alignment with Jupiter (19 Cancer).   Although nominally neutral in themselves, these planets likely became a powerful amplifier for Jupiter's natal energies during the 8-month period they were in alignment.  

We can trace the rally back to approximately August 1st when the Shanghai Index finally broke above technical resistance at 2200 slowly started to climb.  At this time, Uranus and Pluto were a few degrees out of alignment with Jupiter.  Due to retrograde motion, both planets would then move back towards Jupiter and line up almost exactly at the time of the parabolic rally that began in November and continues up until today. 

In August, transiting Jupiter (13 Cancer) was moving deeper into Cancer (from Gemini) and was therefore influencing the 1st house in a increasingly positive way and it approached its natal position.  I would argue that the combined effects of all three transiting planets were necessary (but admittedly not sufficient) reasons for the Chinese stock market to escape its previous doldrums. 

So what does the future hold for Chinese stocks?  We can see that there is the potential for some weakness ahead which could mark a significant break with this rally.  Uranus (25 Pisces) is moving further away from its alignment with Jupiter so that is a diminishing influence.  Jupiter itself is also moving away from its conjunction with its natal placement.  It is possible we could see further gains as long as it remains in the sign of Cancer until July although the picture is complicated by the retrograde motion of Saturn. 

Saturn is the planet of pessimism and when it is prominent, stocks tend to fall.  Saturn turned retrograde in March at 10 degrees of Scorpio and it will closely oppose the natal Mars (5 Taurus) in the Shanghai Exchange chart over the next several months.  Its station at 4 Scorpio in July and August will exactly aspect Ketu (South Node).  This tends to be a more problematic influence, especially if Jupiter is not present to offset any Saturnian negativity.   While there is a good case for Chinese stocks to move higher in the medium term into 2016, I suspect these nearer term influences will bring about a major correction first.   The Mars-Saturn opposition in mid-May is likely to correspond with some weakness, as is the Saturn-Pluto alignment in the summer.

Weekly Financial Markets Update

US stocks generally rose last week as the latest housing data and corporate earnings fueled enticed buyers.  The Dow climbed 1% on the week closing at 18,080.  Indian stocks fell, however, as the rebound in oil prices was seen as inflationary.  The BSE-Sensex tumbled 1000 points on the week and finished at 27,437.  I had suggested the week as a whole could be mixed but noted the bearish potential of the Mercury-Mars conjunction.   This hit the Indian market particularly hard since it aligned with several natal planets in the NSE horoscope. 

This week has also started off mixed as US and Indian markets have fallen while European and Chinese markets have enjoyed strong gains.  Transits are decidedly not a 'one-size-fits-all' proposition since they hit the various exchange horoscopes in different ways.  That said, Saturn forms a 135 degree angle with Uranus through the week so that could be a general source of tension and possible selling.   Venus aligns with Mars through most of the week and that also may be a questionable influence where gains may be harder to come by. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Libyan ship sinking highlights tensions within the EU horoscope

(20 April 2015)  European governments are weighing their options this week after the tragic sinking of a ship of migrants off the coast of Libya.  Almost 700 people are believed to have drowned as the migrants were escaping the political instability in Libya.  The sinking highlights the plight of refugees from Syria, Iraq, and now Libya who have witnessed their societies descend into war and chaos in recent years.  Europe's proximity to the troubled region has forced it consider its humanitarian responsibility despite its own ongoing economic stagnation.  The influx of refugees and immigrants from these Islamic countries has tested European values of tolerance and openness and has provided fuel for right wing political parties.  The emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers today will attempt to formulate a better response to the refugee crisis.

This latest chapter in the European migrant situation can be seen through the horoscope of the EU (1 November 1993, 00.00 a.m. Maastricht, Netherlands).   The natal chart itself hints at possible problems with foreigners as the ruler of the 12th house, Mercury (26 Libra), is placed very close to the 4th house cusp.  The 12th house typically represents outsiders and foreigners while the 4th house symbolizes the home.   This placement reflects the tendency that foreign-born people will have an important or even outsized role in the EU.    However, problems are indicated by the difficult condition of Mercury in the 4th house.   It is closely conjunct malefic Mars and Pluto in the first degree of Scorpio.  Even worse, perhaps, is that it receives a full strength 10th house aspect from Saturn.  This suggests that the sense of home and belonging (4th house) will be disrupted or hard to achieve for migrants (12th house).  It may also create tensions and stresses for native Europeans that undermine their own sense of security and belonging. 

The sense of security and belonging is also weakened by the difficult position of the Moon (0 Taurus).  While the Moon enjoys a certain pride of place through its position at the top of the chart in the 10th house, it is closely opposed by Mars and Pluto.   Both of these planets undermine the sense of peacefulness and security that one normally associates with the home and homeland.   The partial strength square aspect from Saturn (29 Capricorn) to the Moon should also be seen as a negative influence. 

Foreigners and migrants are symbolized by the 12th house as well as the planets Saturn and Rahu (North Lunar Node).  Rahu is perhaps the most closely associated with notions of outsiders and foreigners, while Saturn has a secondary role as it represents low status people, which is often associated with individuals who do not belong to the dominant in-group. 

Interestingly, both of these planets are highlighted in the current transit chart.  Transiting Saturn is conjunct natal Rahu.  If Rahu symbolizes outsiders and foreigners, then Saturn's malefic transit is a very appropriate influence that reflects the harm and suffering of the migrants.  While this conjunction doesn't necessarily reflect the specific sinking of this ship given Saturn's slow velocity, it does capture something of the soul-searching that is occurring on the migrant issue in Europe these days.

Weekly Financial Update

Stocks generally slipped last week on earnings concerns and indications of slower growth in China.  The Dow ended 1% lower at 17,826, while India's Sensex closed at 28,442.  This negative outcome was in keeping with expectations given the three bearish-looking aspects I mentioned in last week's update.  Much of the damage occurred on Friday and closely coincided with the bearish Mars-Jupiter square aspect.

This week looks more mixed.  The early week leans bullish on the Venus-Jupiter alignment on Monday and Tuesday.  Monday has been lower in Asia but European and US markets are higher.  A potential big mover of stocks occurs midweek on the Mercury-Mars conjunction at 22 degrees of Aries.   This is a bearish combination.  This is exact on Wednesday but it could manifest on other days given the larger alignment with Pluto (21 Sagittarius) and Uranus (23 Pisces). 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hillary Clinton announces campaign for President

(12 April 2015)  Hillary Clinton finally ended the pseudo-suspense today and announced her candidacy for the nomination for the Democratic Party in the 2016 US Presidential election.  Ms. Clinton made the announcement via a Youtube video that was released shortly after 3 p.m.  The exact timing of the announcement is important for astrological reasons since the timing of the launch of the campaign marks the official beginning of her endeavour to become President.  In my experience, the horoscopes of these launches reveal important information about the nature of the candidacy as well as providing clues about the eventual success or failure of the campaign.  Clearly, Ms. Clinton is the Democratic frontrunner at this point as no serious challenger has yet stepped forward.  She also stands a decent chance of winning against any Republican candidate according to recent polls.  So what does this campaign launch chart tell us about her chances?

Earlier in the week, the campaign was widely expected to be launched on Sunday, April 12th. I had looked at the chart and quickly concluded there was no astrologer on her staff since Saturn closely aspected both Venus and the Moon today.  Saturn (10 Scorpio) is generally a restrictive and limited influence in the chart and its opposition aspect with Venus (7 Taurus) suggested unhappiness or at least a relatively joyless, austere campaign.  The full strength Saturn sextile aspect to the Moon (6 Capricorn) aspect is somewhat similar and suggests a very emotionally dry or repressed endeavour.  This needn't mean she will lose, but it is not the kind of chart one would normally want for a political campaign.  Politics in the US is typically an exercise in optimism and this is the antithesis of an optimistic sort of chart. 

On the plus side, early Leo rises in the Ascendant which is usually good for confidence and bold action.  In this media-driven world, that is usually a good thing.  Leo is ruled by the Sun, of course, and the Sun is closely conjunct both Uranus (fame, excitement, change) and Mercury (communication).  This is therefore a decent placement for the chart ruler.  The wide trine aspect from Jupiter is also helpful in this regard.   Venus is the ruler of the 10th house of status and is placed hat the very top of the chart close to the equal house cusp of the 10th house.  (=A woman in charge?)  This is not necessarily significant in terms of winning or losing, but at least reflects the high social profile of Hillary's campaign as the first serious female candidate for President of the United States. 

Gains and wishes fulfilled (i.e. an election win) are seen through the 11th house which is untenanted but ruled by Mercury (Gemini).  Mercury is fairly well placed in the 9th house in Aries.  It's close to the Sun which is good since it's ruling the 1st house, and it's also widely conjunct Mars which happens to rule the 9th house.  Such combinations of the rulers of the 1st, 9th and 11th houses are often auspicious. 

That said, the natal chart is not anything to write home about.  Let's take a look at the transits and how they might affect these natal positions.  The huge problem here goes back to that double Saturn aspect to Venus and the Moon. Saturn will be retrograding over the next four months and will therefore actually tighten those aspects with Venus and the Moon.  The Saturn direct station is due in early August at 4 Scorpio.  This suggests that Ms. Clinton's campaign may struggle in its early stages.  She is more likely to draw negative attention to herself as opponents may find her easy pickings as the frontrunner. Even worse, is the fact that Saturn will move into a near exact square aspect to the Ascendant from June to September.  This will simultaneously aspect the Moon (emotions, well-being).  And if that weren't enough, transiting Rahu will exactly aspect her Moon in September. 

This whole summer season is likely to be very difficult for Hillary.  She is likely to go down in approval ratings and will suffer more embarrassments and scandals not unlike the recent email server controversy.  She already has some serious trust issues with the American public that are likely to simmer and flare up again around the time of these Saturn and Rahu transits.  It seems a stretch to think that her entire campaign could be at risk during this time and yet the transits do look quite intense.  At very least, I would think her problems will encourage more Democratic challengers to enter the race.

But by October, I would think her fortunes should improve as Saturn finally moves past its natal position in the chart and Jupiter stations in close alignment with the Midheaven in December and January. Since that will be the beginning of primary season, it bodes well for some important early victories in the primaries.  I would think her chances are good for winning the nomination in April as transiting Sun and Mercury transit the 9th and 10th houses in this horoscope. The 9th house may well become a surrogate for the 11th house of wins/gains through 11th house ruler Mercury's placement in the 9th house.  Whether Hillary can win on election day on November 8th is another question that I will address in a future post.  For what it's worth, this campaign chart looks unremarkable on Election Day and therefore somewhat negative on that question.  However, I do think her birth chart looks good but I would like to get a better sense of her potential GOP opponents and their astrological potential before making a clear prediction.

Weekly Financial Forecast

Stocks rose last week as US economic data generally improved and the release of the Fed minutes didn't show a significantly different prospects for a future rate hike.  The Dow gained less than 2% on the week closing at 18,057 while India's Sensex rose 600 points and finished at 28,879.  Most Asian and European markets also had a positive week.  This outcome was not surprising given the Jupiter direct station on the 8th and 9th.  Such planetary stations are typically time frames of highly focused energies where the inherent qualities of a planet manifests.  Jupiter is the quintessentially bullish planet and hence its station is more likely to correlate with positive market results.

This week looks more problematic, however, as Mars aligns with the North Lunar Node (Rahu) in the early part of the week.  This aspect can often signal times of stress and anxiety.  The middle part of the week also suffers from a Venus opposition to Saturn.  Given Saturn's pre-eminent association with bearishness and pessimism, it seems likely that stocks will fall around this time.  And the end of the week is also a bit of a question mark as Mars squares Jupiter.  These two planets are not always negative but the downside risk definitely rises when these two form a close angle.  With Jupiter now returning to its normal forward motion, there may be less collective optimism for investors to tap into it here.