Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Will Trump concede if he loses the election?

(25 October 2016) With just two weeks left in the race for the US presidency, polls are showing Hillary Clinton with a steady, if somewhat less than comfortable lead.  Last week's third and final debate was contentious but appeared to change little.  While the debate performances were fairly evenly matched, Donald Trump undermined his cause by insisting he would not necessarily accept the result of the election on November 8th. 

Ever since Trump has fallen behind in the polls, he has claimed the election is rigged against him and has railed against the media, the Washington elite and anybody else who disagrees with him.  He has since waffled back and forth on this question but there remains some possibility that he may not concede if he loses.  In a worse case scenario, he could even take the matter to the courts and somehow disrupt the transition of power that normally takes between the November election and Inauguration Day on January 20th when the next president is sworn in.  

Will Trump concede if he loses?   Astrology notwithstanding, life teaches us that betting on the status quo -- that things will probably continue as they are -- is usually the wisest choice.  Despite his bluster, the sensible view is that Trump will probably give in to pressure from his campaign and from what is left of the GOP and not legally contest the election results.  And yet the planetary alignments on Election Day and on Inauguration Day seem more active than they otherwise should be in a normal election cycle.  Given what he has already stated and what the planets may be hinting at, there is reason to think that he could follow through on his threats to challenge the results.   While I probably wouldn't bet too much against the status quo, it's interesting to ponder the possible alternatives.  

What caught my eye were some similarities between the USA chart this year and in November 2000 when Democrat Al Gore legally contested the results after a very narrow and controversial result in the state of Florida.  While some uncertainty remained about the Florida recount given the whole "hanging chad" fiasco, the Supreme Court halted the recount and awarded the election to Republican George W. Bush.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

Gore's legal challenge famously occurred when Mercury had stationed direct (S.D.) on the night of the election in a close square aspect with natal Pluto in the USA chart.  Mercury symbolizes rationality and calculation while square aspects are often problematic and can indicate a disruption in these processes.  Pluto symbolizes power so the Mercury-Pluto aspect suggested a suspension of rationality in the service of power.  

But other politically-relevant planets were also afflicted in 2000.   Jupiter represents laws and constitutional tradition and it was in a near-exact trine aspect with Ketu, the planet of change.  Ketu's penchant for destabilization therefore undermined Jupiter's inclination for adhering to convention.   This was one element in the larger picture of the unprecedented Gore-Bush election.   The Sun represents the government as a whole and a general sense of authority.  This was also afflicted by the conjunction of transiting Rahu within one degree (23 Gemini).  Like Ketu, Rahu (North Lunar Node) is disruptive of the status quo and its transits to the Sun can reflect a time when authority is challenged and comes under increased scrutiny.    Uranus (23 Capricorn) was also in a close quincunx alignment with the Sun and this may have intensified the power of Rahu to disrupt the normal functioning of government (Sun). 

Shorter-term aspects were also in play on the night of the 2000 election.  Transiting Venus was opposite Mars indicating an agitated and unsettled state of mind throughout the country.  Mars was square the Ascendant and this may also have reflected an unusual and sudden development whereby the country did not have a newly elected government.  

Perhaps most crucially, Saturn (4 Taurus) was casting its close third house, 60-degree sextile aspect to Mercury (3 Cancer) on election day.  Saturn is a disruptive influence and its aspect here on Mercury as a very appropriate indication of frustration, irrationality, and disappointment.   Most fundamentally, Saturn symbolizes loss and its aspect to Mercury in November 2000 represented a temporary loss of rationality and the ability to solve problems logically.  The recount was one of the most bizarre and embarrassing episodes in US history as in some polling officials could not even agree if a vote had been cast for Gore or Bush.  This was the famous "hanging chad" ballot which seemed to crystallize the arbitrariness of the US electoral system.  Saturn's ability to distort and deny upended Mercury's rationality.  

This time around we can see some of the same afflictions to Jupiter (law), the Sun (government) and Mercury (rationality).    However, they seem to be significantly less intense than they were in 2000.   Jupiter (15 Gemini) is again afflicted by Ketu (16 Aquarius) in November and suggests that the constitution and legal conventions may be under greater pressure than normal.  By itself, it may not mean that Trump requests a legal challenge.  But it does seem to indicate the likelihood that legal traditions are coming under greater scrutiny.  It is also possible that much of this transit affliction to Jupiter has been fulfilled here in October as Trump has called into question so much of conventional thinking about law and elections. 

And as in 2000, we can see the Sun (22 Gemini) under affliction as Pluto (21 Sagittarius) opposes it while Saturn (21 Scorpio) is in a close 210 degree alignment.  While the Saturn affliction is not full-strength (it is not a Vedic aspect) it still matters and should be seen as a time of great stress on US government and its institutions.  The fact that both planets are in near-exact alignments to the Sun at the time of the election should be worrying.    Of course, it could be just some empty Trump grandstanding against the forces that be, but it could be something a bit more tangible.  Again, Venus is opposite Mars showing agitation and a less than contented mood among the population.

And as in 2000, Mercury is afflicted.  However, this time around it is afflicted by Mars, not Saturn.  Mars brings its own list of problems but since it is a faster moving planet, its damage may be less thoroughgoing.  Mars (5 Capricorn) is conjunct the US Pluto (6 Capricorn) and opposite Mercury (3 Cancer).   There is definitely a ratcheting up of intensity here on election day, as it there could be confrontation and even violence at some polling places.  Some Trump supporters have been calling for careful monitoring of some polling places in order to stop voter fraud.  This has already been a flash point of contention in the campaign and could boil over.  The placement of Mars opposite Mercury on election day is one more reason why this could be a significant problem.  The Mars opposition is actually closer a few days before election day so we could see some tension manifest on that front a bit earlier, such as Nov 3-6.  Either way, Mars connotes aggression and assertion and would seem to be unusual and inappropriate at a time of an election.

And yet the absence of any heavy Saturn aspect to Mercury makes me less certain that Trump will actually go ahead an launch a full legal challenge.  Given the planetary picture here, it's certainly more possible than in any normal election.   Nonetheless, the multiple afflictions to the USA horoscope in early November are cause for some concern.   Whatever happens, it seems likely that the rule of law and the stability of the US authority structure will come under increased stress around the time of the election. 

The other chart that got me intrigued about a possible Trump challenge is the Inauguration chart for January 20th.  Normally, this chart should be mostly unafflicted as the day is ceremonial in nature without much controversy.  But this time we see that the USA Mars (0 Gemini) is closely afflicted by both Mars (0 Pisces) and Saturn (29 Scorpio).   This double affliction of Mars suggests conflict and controversy are more likely at the time of the inauguration.  Mars brings an added risk of violence, of course, so that is also something that we should look out for.  But the Saturn affliction is more worrying as it may indicate a deeper antagonism with the whole process of the presidential inauguration. 

Given that Trump has already spoken of the possibility of challenging the results and the planets do not look straightforward on election day, it is possible we could see significant protests in Washington on January 20th.  We could also see Trump organizing something like a parallel inauguration just to raise the stakes against the incoming Clinton administration that he sees as illegitimate and corrupt.   Admittedly, I'm only thinking out loud here but these sorts of scenarios are more likely given these charts.  We could also see some non-Trump-related developments around the time of the inauguration that may contain significant Martian elements of conflict and violence either at home or abroad.

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks have continued their mostly sideways movement for another week.   The Dow is down a bit today (Tuesday) but it is actually marginally higher over last week due to Monday's gain as it is holds above the crucial 18,000 level.  India's Sensex has largely followed suit as it is still trading above 28,000.  In last week's market forecast, I thought we might have seen more late week declines on the Mars-Pluto conjunction but the downside was very modest indeed. 

This week offers the possibility of more upside into Wednesday's Sun-Mercury conjunction.  However, the late week is more problematic as Mars squares Uranus while Venus approaches its conjunction with Saturn.  This conjunction is exact on Sunday the 30th but it is possible it could produce fallout earlier than that.    And after that, November looms as Saturn remains in its tense alignment with Rahu and Neptune.

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Mars-Pluto promises fireworks at third US presidential debate

(17 October 2016) The US presidential race is approaching a fever pitch now with just three weeks left to go.  Without risk of understatement, it has been the most bizarre contest in living memory, no doubt because of the presence of one Donald J. Trump.  Both candidates have been subject to character attacks in an attempt to undermine their credibility.   The Russian-hacked emails via Wikileaks have tried to make Hillary Clinton look corrupt and untrustworthy while the media has been full of a conspicuously steady stream of women who have accused of Trump of sexual misconduct and sexual assault.  October surprises, indeed!  One wonders how much nastier this already ugly race could get before November 8th.  Hillary Clinton is holding a lead in most polls by 5-8 points while political betting markets now put her chances of winning at 85% or better.

We're now in the home stretch as the third and final presidential debate takes place on Wednesday evening in Las Vegas.  Final debates are not usually decisive but anything is possible in this race given the unpredictable nature of Donald Trump.  Thus far, the race is going more or less as expected.  I previously predicted that Hillary Clinton would win the first debate and would go on to open up a lead in early October.  This has basically come to pass.  I still think she will win but I don't know by how much. 

Parenthetically, the margin of victory could actually be very important going forward in terms of the governability of the USA for the next four years.  As Trump spouts his sour grapes "rigged election" claims in the event he loses, he is fostering greater frustration with the US political system as a whole.  If Trump ends up losing by less than 5 points, for example, there will be a greater temptation amongst his aggrieved followers that the election was stolen or that the system itself is irredeemable.  This would increase the likelihood of political violence and make it harder for legislation to be passed in the next Congress.  If the margin of victory is larger, especially if its over 10%, then Trump's supporters would have a lesser sense of injustice.  This could allow for more co-operation between the various branches of government in the next administration.  It may not prevent him from starting a new far-right television network, however. 

The third debate has the potential to be even more intense and combative than the previous debates.  The reason is that the debate will take place just as Mars approaches its conjunction with Pluto.  Mars (21 Sagittarius) symbolizes (in descending moral order) action, conflict, aggression and violence while Pluto (21 Sagittarius) is seen to represent power, manipulation and coercion.  The pairing of these two planets is often difficult in the best of circumstances.  In the case of Wednesday's debate, there is a added risk of genuine conflict as the Mars-Pluto conjunction takes place just one degree from an opposition to the Sun (22 Gemini) of the USA horoscope. 

The Sun is associated with leaders, authority and government so the Mars-Pluto pairing could create an atmosphere that is very much at odds with authority.  Perhaps this could mean that Trump goes even further in his scorched-earth approach to expound on how the political system is rigged against him.  Or his attacks on Hillary Clinton could really move below the belt in a way not yet seen.  The Mars-Pluto aspect to the Sun will not be exact for a couple of days after the debate so we should also allow for the possibility that the full manifestation of this tense energy may not occur in the debate itself.  Nonetheless, it will likely make the debate more combative. 

Hillary Clinton will likely come under intense attack in this debate since the Mars-Pluto will be in close quincunx (8th house) aspect to her natal Mars and Pluto (20 Cancer).  There is an interesting mirroring of this natal planetary alignments since she was born with Mars conjunct Pluto, albeit in a different zodiac sign.  Normally, I would say that this 8th house Mars aspect to Mars is a negative influence and suggests she will not do well in the debate.  Mars-to-Mars aspects tend to be negative in this way, as if there is too much Mars energy to successfully channel into a constructive outcome. 

However, Hillary's birth time is unknown so there is only so much we can glean from her chart.  That's why I have generally preferred to use husband Bill's chart as a proxy for Hillary's fortunes.  We can see that Bill Clinton's chart is still looking quite good this week.  Not only is Jupiter (14 Virgo) still close to his Mars-Neptune conjunction near the Ascendant, but transiting Mercury (28 Virgo) is just two degrees off his Jupiter (0 Libra).  This suggests a positive outcome for Hillary either on the night of the third debate, or in the day or two following.  Therefore, even if Hillary puts in a mediocre debate performance, the Mercury-Jupiter conjunction suggests she won't be damaged too much by it. 

The likelihood of some real fireworks here is also seen in Trump's chart.  The Mars-Pluto conjunction will be in a near-exact 135 degree aspect with the Ascendant.  This will likely make Trump very aggressive and perhaps out of control at the time of the debate.  Moreover, the Mercury transit that was helping Bill and Hillary is past Trump's Jupiter and falls under the aspect of his natal Rahu (27 Taurus).  Rahu often has a distorting effect on the planet it aligns with. Since Mercury is associated with speech and information, Trump may make some of his wildest accusations yet. 

It seems unlikely that they will have their desired effects, however, since there are no obvious positive alignments in the chart.  The egomaniacal Trump is behind in the race and facing an embarrassing defeat so he has nothing to lose in this debate.  He may well move from scorched-earth to full-on nuclear at this point.  I would not be surprised at anything he does here.

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks have generally moved lower in recent days as the odds of a Fed rate hike have risen.  For a stock market that is addicted to cheap money, the prospect of higher interest rates are unwelcome and good reason to sell.  The Dow finished Friday at 18,138 and is down slightly at midday on Monday.  Indian stocks have also declined modestly as the Sensex finished Monday at 27,673. This bearish outcome was in keeping with last week's market forecast as I thought the Mercury-Mars square would likely coincide with some more downside.

This week should see more declines.   The Mars-Pluto conjunction is exact on Wednesday and could cast a shadow over the week at various points.  The outlook is further weakened because the Sun entered sidereal Libra on Monday.  By itself, this is not a bad placement although the Sun is said to be debilitated in this sign.  The problem this time is that the Sun's dispositor, Venus is approaching its conjunction with Saturn.  This conjunction will not be exact until the end of October it will likely have a depressing effect on sentiment.  Friday's Moon-Mars-Pluto alignment may warrant special caution as a damaged Moon is likely to coincide with jittery investors.

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

America's love-hate relationship with Donald Trump

 (11 October 2016) Donald Trump's campaign for the US president suffered a potentially fatal blow last week after an embarrassing tape surfaced where he made lewd and denigrating comments about women.  Already trailing in the polls, the revelation led to many GOP leaders to distance themselves from the New York real estate mogul.  Yesterday, House Leader Paul Ryan effectively threw in the towel on Trump's controversial Presidential campaign as he advised his House and Senate members to focus on re-election in their individual races rather than support Trump's efforts for the top job. 

This withdrawal of formal GOP support may well spell the end of Trump's chances.  Polls taken after the release of the tape now show Trump down by 11 points, a near-insurmountable deficit with only four weeks left in the race.  Monday's second debate is unlikely to move the polls much as Hillary Clinton largely held her own in the face of Trump's often over-the-top accusations. 

Hillary Clinton's lead is now widening.  This is more or less what I had predicted in previous posts given the changing influences in the charts of both Hillary and Bill Clinton.  Since we don't really what time Hillary was born, I focused on Bill Clinton's chart for clues about her ups and downs.   I could see that Mercury conjoined Jupiter right on the Bill's Ascendant at the time of the second debate and that this would very likely help Hillary.  Well, it not only helped her debate performance, but it also reflected the huge gain from the Trump tape which was released just three days before the debate.   Mercury and Jupiter are both benefic planets and their conjunction near an important personal chart point like the Ascendant, Sun or Moon almost always coincides with "good news".  Also I could see that Tim Kaine's chart was very good for early October and thought it might be the time when Hillary Clinton would begin to open up a bigger lead.  This is basically what has happened, although ironically, Kaine did poorly in his own VP debate against Mike Pence the previous week.

I also thought that Trump's newly-minted Jupiter dasha period (as of Sep 30th) could cause some problems for him. Although Jupiter is a benefic planet, Trump's Jupiter is closely aspected by Rahu, the North Lunar Node.  Rahu can have a corrosive effect on Jupiter and can lead to a loss of moral judgment.  Jupiter's penchant for wisdom and "right action" is thereby undermined by Rahu's desire for material gain irrespective of social norms and morals.   The scandalous "Access Hollywood" tape is a perfect example of how Rahu can undermine Jupiter's moral compass as Trump not only participated in "locker room talk" but also lacked the good judgment to be discreet in a media environment filled with hot mics that might have recorded his words.

Trump and America

Obviously, I still think Trump will lose and possibly lose badly to Hillary Clinton on November 8th.   But it also seems clear that Trump has changed the political landscape in America during this campaign.  Aside from his boorish manner and ugly tactics, his focus on the downside of globalization, free trade and liberal immigration laws has now forced the political elite to take those concerns of the working class more seriously.  And despite the resistance from the elites, he may well have changed the direction of the Republican Party for many years to come.  He is a force to be reckoned with.

America has a love-hate relationship with Donald J. Trump.  While he is going to lose this race, he remains a champion and hero to 30-40% of the population.  A somewhat greater number basically despises him and considers him morally and temperamentally unfit for the office of president.  And therein lies the mathematics of his failing campaign.  One way we can understand Trump's polarizing effects is to look at how his horoscope aligns with the horoscope of the USA.

Off the top, we can see the likely catalyst for this love-hate dynamic.  Trump's Sun/Rahu-Moon/Ketu opposition (yes, The Donald was born on a lunar eclipse) align closely with the placement of Mars in the USA chart.  His Sun sits at 29 Taurus, just one degree from the USA's Mars at 0 Gemini.  This is one reason why many Americans see Trump as a powerful and energetic person who is capable of leading their country.  Sun-Mars contacts are great for conveying a sense of executive authority and taking action.  But the problem for Trump is that his Moon (28 Scorpio) is opposite this Mars. 

Whereas the Sun and Mars are masculine energies, the Moon, of course, is a more feminine energy that represents the emotions.  Moon-Mars oppositions are tense and usually unhelpful in any kind of reciprocal give-and-take relationship.  Mars-Sun is good for efficient one-way relationships such as one might find in the military or a corporation, but the Moon does not fit so easily with the energy of Mars.  The fact that Trump is polling 20 or 30 points better with men confirms the truth of this astrological alignment.   Trump's male Sun aligns positively with America's fighting Mars spirit.   But his Moon doesn't work at all with America's Mars.  Moon-Mars oppositions symbolize conflict and turbulence.  And since the Moon represents the feminine principle, it is difficult for Trump to integrate the feminine approach into his relationship with the USA.  Is it any wonder that Trump will lose this election because of his lack of appeal to women?  Moreover, he will lose this race because he is running against a woman, Hillary Clinton. 

Trump's clear ability to connect with people through their economic needs is perhaps seen in the conjunction of his Saturn (0 Cancer) and Venus (2 Cancer) with the USA's Mercury (3 Cancer).   Clearly, Trump has a strong connection with the planet of business and commerce (Mercury) for the USA.   His anti-free trade platform is aimed at bringing jobs back to the manufacturing sector, no matter if it leads to higher costs of imported goods.  His anti-free trade bias may well reflect Saturn's sense of restraint upon commerce (Mercury) in order to enhance value and wealth (Venus). 

Many people see his rhetorical skills as blunt and crude (or worse!) , and yet the conjunction of his Mercury (15 Gemini) to the USA's Jupiter (15 Gemini) is one very good reason why his message has resonated with so many ordinary people.   His words (Mercury) are recognized and respected (Jupiter) by many Americans, especially those who have been left behind in the push to globalization since the 1980s.  This conjunction is very close and speaks to a genuine connection with the American psyche.  His political opponents would do well to acknowledge it and learn from it.

But Trump is above all a person who lives and dies according to his Mars.  Mars is rising in his chart in Leo and it propels him forward in life.  Mars describes his initiative, his risk-taking, his short attention span, his decisiveness, his spitefulness, his pettiness, and his fearlessness.   Donald Trump's Mars (3 Leo) is in a close opposition with the Moon (7 Aquarius) in the USA chart.   This four-degree orb is bad enough and it gets even smaller if we use some afternoon charts for the USA.  I prefer the 6.30 p.m. chart although I know many other astrologers use an earlier chart.  In any event, the opposition of Mars to the Moon is again highlighting the problem of anger and antipathy.  It again highlights Trump's problem with women.  Incredibly, that means there are actually two separate Moon-Mars oppositions in play between the Trump chart and the USA chart: Trump's Mars to the USA's Moon and the USA's Mars to Trump's Moon.  That translates into a lot of anger and some very volatile emotions.

The Moon-Mars opposition animates the American public (remember that the Moon symbolizes the public as a whole in national horoscopes)  but it animates them in an aggressive and overly assertive way.  His rallies are huge and filled with frustrated and angry people who are tired of the establishment ignoring their needs and taking them for granted.  But the opposition aspect is often bad and unproductive, unlike, say, the conjunction of the Moon and Mars.  I would say that Trump's Mars animates the American people (Moon) to think and behave too aggressively. 

That is one reason why Trump has been called out for fomenting a rise in xenophobia and racism towards Muslims and Mexicans.  The Mars opposition to the Moon creates anger and animosity that is usually destructive.  Trumps lights a fire under the feet of US elites and excites the population, but in a negative and sometimes ugly way.  Yes, I'm editorializing here to some extent although I think most astrologers would agree.  Trump's Mars is too much for the USA and if left unchecked, it would lead to a lot more rancour, strife and conflict. 

Interestingly, Trump just entered his Jupiter dasha period according to Krishnamurthi ayanamsha.  Jupiter is exactly conjunct the USA's Saturn.  Is this another reason why Trump's campaign is collapsing?  I think it might be.  Saturn is a limiting influence and it cannot be helpful to have one's dasha lord conjunct the Saturn of the nation you are trying to lead. 

So while Trump has some very strong positive connections with the USA chart, the double Moon-Mars opposition creates an unhealthy amount of turbulence, aggression conflict.  These twin influences operate side-by-side and go a long way to explain why America has a very intense love-hate relationship with Donald Trump.   Despite his impending election defeat, it seems likely he will continue to exert a strong influence on American political life.  The double Moon-Mars alignment will likely manifest early in 2017 when it is activated by the transits of Saturn and Rahu.  This could be a time of particular turbulence and conflict involving both Donald Trump and the USA.   

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks have been generally mixed of late.   Last week saw stocks move sideways as stronger US economic data suggested the Fed might finally hike rates in December.  This mostly mixed performance has carried into this week.  As I noted in last week's market forecast, however, this week's Mercury-Jupiter conjunction did correlate with a more solidly positive outcome for most global stock markets on Monday although US stocks are now declining in Tuesday's session.

This week looks more bearish.  In the late week, Mars will align with Mercury, Rahu (North Lunar Node) and Saturn.   Three of the four of these planets are natural malefics and their alignment definitely carries significant downside risk.  While declines are not inevitable, they are much more likely than not.  Moreover, larger declines also have an increased likelihood although I would not say they exceed 50%. 

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Deutsche Bank: the canary in a coal mine?

(4 October 2016) Is Deutsche Bank the canary in the coal mine? Frightened investors are pondering this question as the venerable German bank is looking more fragile these days as its share price plumbed historic new lows last week.  Deutsche Bank profits have been squeezed by the ECB's misadventure into negative interest rates as well as suffering huge losses through its misguided derivatives trading.  The recent $14 Billion fine by the US Department of Justice for fraudulent practices has only compounded matters as analysts assess the probability of Deutsche Bank collapse.   A bank failure of this magnitude could start a chain reaction not unlike the Bear Stearns bankruptcy in March 2008 or worse, Lehman Brothers in September of that year.  It was the contagion effect from the Lehman Bros. bankruptcy which led to biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression.

No matter how difficult things may get for the over-leveraged and under-capitalized Deutsche Bank, some observers are counting on a bailout from the German government to avoid any worst-case Lehman-type scenarios.  And yet, the Merkel government is apparently loathe to throw money at the problem since it has taken a hard line against similar bailouts in other EU countries such as Italy.  Therefore, there remains significant risk that Deutsche Bank share price could fall further before any last-ditch rescue could even be attempted.  It is important for non-European readers to recognize that if Deutsche Bank were to go under the financial impact would be felt globally.  It definitely has the potential to cause significant losses in stock markets around the world if it is allowed to fail.

In attempting any analysis in financial astrology, the most important dates are those of the first trade of the security.  Deutsche Bank was founded in Berlin in January of 1870 and was first publicly traded on 12 May of that year.  While I could not find a time of the first trade, there are still some telling alignments using the approximate noon chart.  Prevailing trends can be seen through a comparison of the positions of the current planets (or transits) with the position of the planets at the time of its first trade.  We can see that the both Mercury and Mars are coming under serious affliction by malefics over the next month.   These are afflicted now, but there is a danger the affliction with intensify as the aspects become closer to exact. 

Mercury, the planet of commerce, sits at 21 Taurus.  Transiting Saturn will exactly oppose it in late October and early November.  Faster-moving Venus will join the Saturn-Mercury alignment on 30 October and could bring major negative developments.  Such Saturn-Mercury aspects often coincide with times of frustration, restriction and disappointment.  Transiting Rahu will also aspect the natal Mars (16 Aries) in early November.  Rahu-Mars aspects often describe periods of tumult and uncertainty and are usually not compatible with desirable outcomes.

A secondary source of information is the Deutsche Bank first trade chart when it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange on 3 October 2001. Amazingly, we can see a similar pattern of affliction peaking in late October and early November.  Again, that Venus-Saturn conjunction at 20 degrees of sidereal Scorpio will activate key natal planets.  The natal chart has a powerful and quite negative t-square alignment of Venus (21 Leo), Saturn (21 Taurus) and Pluto (19 Scorpio).  This chart offers confirmatory evidence that Deutsche Bank will come under more serious stress in late October when the Saturn transit is closest.  The NYSE chart also hints that we could get an early warning of future problems when the Mars-Pluto conjunction conjoins the natal Mars (20 Sagittarius) on or around 17 October.

These two charts suggest that the Deutsche Bank saga is not over yet.  It seems that we could see more fallout from either the DOJ fine (no reduced settlement?) or some other source of instability in the weeks to come.  While I think it is quite unlikely that Deutsche Bank will go bankrupt this year, its precarious position could well produce some more sleepless nights for Ms. Merkel in the Bundestag.

Weekly Financial Forecast

Meanwhile, US stocks were fairly neutral across last week and into this week.  Without an imminent rate hike from the Fed, investors seem fairly satisfied with the status quo.  The Dow finished last week at 18,300 and is down marginally so far this week.  Indian stocks fared somewhat worse, however, as tensions with Pakistan in Kashmir threatened to boil over.  The Sensex lost 2% last week but has regained some of that loss thus far this week as it is again trading above 28,000.   This fairly middling result is not surprising as I noted some mixed influences in play in last week's market forecast.

This week seems similarly mixed.  Some upside seems likely as Mercury approaches its conjunction with Jupiter (exact next Tuesday the 11th).  While this two-planet alignment is probably not strong enough to push stocks significantly higher by itself, it should at least translate into some positive trading days for the rest of this week and into next week.  As I have mentioned previously, however, October as a whole looks more difficult given the Saturn alignment with Neptune and Rahu (North Lunar Node).

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Hillary wins first debate with Trump

(27 September 2016) Early indications are that Democrat Hillary Clinton was the winner of the first presidential debate against her GOP opponent Donald Trump.  A CNN-ORC poll showed that 62% of respondents thought she won the debate while financial markets offered even more evidence that Hillary bested Trump.  The stock market is well known to prefer a Clinton presidency and Dow futures rose throughout the debate.  Markets don't like uncertainty and Clinton is seen as a status quo candidate with close ties to Wall Street (Just ask Goldman Sachs!). 

Even more telling was the rise of the Mexican peso following the debate.  The peso has closely mirror the relative strength of Donald Trump, who is seen as a net negative for the Mexican economy since he wants to tax imports from south of the border and deport millions of illegal Mexicans living in the US.   The stronger post-debate peso was more proof that the market now sees Hillary Clinton as being one step closer to the presidency.

This outcome was not surprising as I thought Hillary Clinton would likely win in this first debate.  The alignment of the Sun, Venus and Jupiter to her Sun at 9 Libra was suggestive of a positive result from being in the spotlight.  To be sure, only Venus was conjunct her Sun, but the non-aspecting influence of the Sun and Jupiter was likely also helpful to her.  Also I thought that Trump's chart didn't look that favourable to him given the prominence of transiting Mars in this chart. 

Some Mars is good since it gives initiative and assertiveness, but a lot of Mars is usually bad.  This is especially for someone with an outsized Mars like Trump who has it rising in this 1st house (the Self) in the royal sign of Leo.  Actually, I thought Trump was surprisingly restrained through the whole thing as I had previously suggested he might have become outrageously aggressive as in past debates.

I have tended to not be overly reliant on the minutiae of Hillary's chart because her birth time remains in doubt.  I've cautiously used the 8.00 a.m. time up to now but generally ignored the time dependent factors wherever possible.  That's why I have also consulted the charts of her husband Bill and daughter Chelsea whose birth times are more well known. Bill Clinton's chart showed a very obvious positive alignment as the Sun-Jupiter conjunction at 9 and 10 degrees of Virgo was coming up to hit his Ascendant at 12 Virgo.  A pretty nice alignment for getting what you want I'd have to say.

So what happens now?  Well, if Bill's 8.50 a.m. chart is correct (and I think it is), then Hillary should continue to do well for the next couple of weeks and right up to the election.   It's all about those planets in Virgo.  Bill's Ascendant (first house) is Virgo and he has the Sun, Neptune and Venus all situated in that first house.  Jupiter is slowly transiting through Virgo (for the next year or so) so that will be a big boost for both Bill and Hillary. 

The first debate took place just as the Sun was conjoining Bill's Ascendant.  Basically a slam dunk sort of planetary pattern for a Clinton debate win.  As the Sun moves past his Ascendant, there may be a slight come down for a few days but now Mercury has also entered Virgo and that will likely also translate into favourable situations and outcomes for the Clintons over the next couple of weeks.  The Vice-presidential debate on October 4th may also go the Democrats way as transiting Sun conjoins Bill's Venus.  I've already suggested Democratic VP nominee Tim Kaine would do well in October as the Mars-Jupiter square lines up exactly to the degree with his Ascendant on -- you guessed it -- October 4th.  Mars and Jupiter are power planets that are highly conducive for gaining political advantage. 

The second debate takes place on October 9th just a day before Mercury (10 Virgo) also conjoins Bill's Ascendant alongside Jupiter (12 Virgo).  Mercury is associated with thinking and information whereas Jupiter symbolizes optimism and "right outcomes".  This conjunction should therefore translate into information that creates positive results for Hillary.  Moreover, transiting Venus (happiness) is almost exactly opposite his natal Moon (the feminine, emotions).  Both of these transits are very positive for Hillary's performance and they will increase the chances for a second debate 'win'.  And yet, Mars will casts its malefic 8th house aspect (210 degrees) to Clinton's Mercury around that second debate.  That is not good at all.  It seems likely that Hillary will experience some setback around that time.  So while there are problems on the Clinton side, we can see that the Mercury-Jupiter conjunction will line up in exact opposition to Kaine's Ascendant at 11 Pisces so that's another sign that Hillary will continue to lead in the polls and do well at the time of the second debate.

And yet Donald Trump's chart has some strength at that time also that it lacked for the first debate.  On the plus side, the transiting Sun (23 Virgo) is coming up to his Jupiter (24 Virgo) and it will activate this nice Jupiter-Uranus alignment.  It's exact the following day (poll results?) but I would think he feels some kind of ego boost from it.  Sun-Jupiter alignments can indicate rewards and recognition. 

However, once again Mars lurks in the Trump chart and not in a good way.  Transiting Mars (14 Sagittarius) will be closely opposite his Mercury (15 Gemini) symbolizing communication.  Trump may therefore be more aggressive and harsh in his speech at this debate.  Overall, maybe Trump has a mixed performance.  Perhaps he scores some important points in the debate but somehow has a Mars-related setback by being overly aggressive.  He could conceivably win some short-term polls on 'who won the debate' but still not make up any ground in actual polls about probable voting intentions on November 8th.  It's an interesting mix of planets to be sure.

The bottom line is the stars are still aligning very much in favour of a Hillary Clinton presidency.  I just don't see any other outcome.  Last year, I thought Hillary had the stars to win while Trump couldn't win.  Nothing has changed.  Yes, I underestimated Trump's chances to win the GOP nomination even if he chart was really good.  Maybe that's my bias talking.  But on the question of the ultimate prize, I don't see how Trump wins this thing.  The question is rather how much will he lose by.  For now, I can't think of a plausible way of distinguishing between a narrow win and a landslide based on the charts alone.  What is the astrological signature for humiliation and how is it different from crushing and disappointing narrow loss?

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks rallied last week after the Fed left rates unchanged.  With the Fed too timid to hike rates, investors again hit the buy button as the Dow gained 1% on the week.  The Indian Sensex also added about 1%.  In last week's market forecast, I thought we could see a short term pullback after the Fed, but the overall gains were not unexpected given the generally bullish patterns in play.  Venus is in Libra now and the Sun was approaching its conjunction with bullish Jupiter.  So far this week, however, stocks have fallen on profit taking as crude oil producers have failed to come to a production freeze to prop up prices. 

The rest of this week looks somewhat mixed.  Wednesday's Moon-Rahu conjunction seems negative  and could extend the uncertainty.  However, the late week looks more bullish as the Moon conjoins the Sun-Jupiter conjunction.  The market could hang on a bit longer here in early October as Mercury conjoins with Jupiter but time is growing short as Saturn is squaring both Rahu (North Lunar Node) and Neptune. This planetary alignment could be too much even for this heavily manipulated market to handle.

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Trump pulls even with Clinton as his Jupiter dasha is set to begin

(21 September 2016) The improbable candidacy of Donald J. Trump continues to defy the odds as the US presidential election heads into its home stretch.   After falling behind by 6-8 points in July and August, Trump is now in a virtual dead heat with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.   He clearly has the momentum on his side as the candidates prepare for the first debate next Monday the 26th.  If he can even hold his own against his better-prepared and more wonkish opponent, it could be enough to put him in the lead and perhaps take him into the White House. 

Last week, I reiterated my skepticism about a Trump victory.  The first debate looked like it would be a clear Hillary win, or at least some event right around the time of the debate looked strongly favorable to her.  While Trump's horoscope for the second debate on October 9th looks much better, I'm still not convinced he will be able to go all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 

In previous posts on the US election, I've outlined a number of reasons for Hillary's relative strength and Trump's relative weakness in November.  This week I wanted to focus on a single factor, dashas periods, to illustrate how the race could shift gears in the days ahead.  Dasha periods are unique to Vedic astrology, although Western Hellenistic astrology uses the analogous concept of time lords.  Essentially, a dasha period is a block of time measured in years where life experiences and outcomes are disproportionately shaped by a single planet, the dasha ruler (or dasha lord). The outcomes of a particular dasha are more likely to be favourable if its ruler is a 1) benefic planet and 2) if it is strong and well placed in the horoscope. Obviously, there is a considerable interpretive grey area about whether a planet is well placed or not.  Sometimes, it is clearly positive such as for a dasha of a benefic planet like Venus which is unafflicted by malefics like Saturn or Mars and it is placed in an auspicious house, like the 1st, 5th or 9th.   In most such cases, we could predict that a Venus dasha period will tend to be mostly favourable.  The dasha period is divided into minor periods which can also be assessed and interpreted according to standard rules of Vedic astrology.

Now let's take a look at Trump's chart.  He is at the very end of his Rahu major dasha period which began back in 1998.  He launched his campaign for president in June 2015 while under Rahu-Moon and then began to assume a commanding lead after Rahu-Mars began in September 2015.  Rahu is a fantastic planet for Trump because it is placed in its best house, the 10th, symbolizing status and profile.  Rahu may be a natural malefic, but it does very well in the 10th and 11th houses where it typically accompanies career (10th) and material (11th) and success.  It also does well in the other upachaya houses, the 3rd and 6th.  Moreover, Trump's Rahu is made ever stronger by virtue of its close conjunction with Uranus (originality, rebellion) and the Sun (leadership, ego).  Rahu is also aspected (by 120 degree trine) by benefic Jupiter.

Rahu is the planet of transgression and grasping -- a perfect planetary embodiment of the free-wheeling, self-aggrandizing entrepreneur Trump.  Rahu seeks to breaks the mold no matter what the cost and its placement in Trump's 10th house is one reason for his stunning campaign success.  Trump's campaign has broken all the US political rules and dumbfounded media and fellow Republicans alike.  And yet he still putting his message out there no matter how much offense it causes or much criticism he receives. He's very Rahuvian.

His campaign began under Rahu-Moon.  Moon is nominally debilitated in Scorpio but its dispositor Mars is very powerful on the Ascendant, hence its debility is canceled.  And Moon is with Ketu (South Node) which conjures up notions of unusual or unconventional behaviours.  His campaign seemed like a circus sideshow at first (and still is by some measures!) because Trump usually spoke off the cuff without notes or a teleprompter.  Like its nodal cousin Rahu, Ketu is also capable of surprises and going off-script.  Moon is also opposite the Sun, a very empowering influence that speaks to leadership and being in the limelight.

Trump started to pull away from all other rivals in the polls once Rahu-Mars began in September last year.  Mars is arguably Trump's best planet so that isn't too surprising.  Mars is rising in fiery Leo, no less!  It would be an appropriate time for him to exercise his assertiveness, aggression and executive ability against all comers.  And he did -- all of his rivals dropped out of the race one by one until Trump was nominated in the spring.  Trump has continued to thrive in his unconventional campaign against Hillary Clinton as his Rahu-Mars dasha period now comes to a close.

We would do well to recall the traditional Vedic warning about Rahu.  It is said that Rahu bring gains quickly but they can be unreliable and unsustainable.  Gains and benefits that accrue under the Rahu dasha are vulnerable to sudden loss near the end of the its dasha period.  So far, Trump isn't showing any signs of losing his momentum and the Rahu period is days away from ending.   Traditional warnings about Rahu notwithstanding, I suspect that Trump may become more prone to setbacks, ironically, under his Jupiter dasha.

So what happens when his Jupiter dasha period starts on or near September 30th?  I should note at the outset that the exact timing of dashas is dependent on the ayanamsha used.  I use Krishnamurthi which is 5 arc minutes ahead of the more widely used Lahiri.  Lahiri has Trump entering his Jupiter dasha after the election in mid-November.  So that creates an additional layer of interpretive uncertainty.   Nonetheless, it may be worth watching if there are significant shifts in the campaign around this September 30th date.  Interestingly, it is just four days after the first debate. 

So while we could see some new dynamics or developments in the campaign with the Jupiter dasha, we could also make the case that Trump's Jupiter dasha could put him over the top and win the presidency.  After all, Jupiter is a natural benefic and it is very strong in his natal chart in the 2nd house, although retrograde.  Trump's Jupiter is near stationary as he was born just one day before Jupiter stationed direct.  This usually enhances Jupiterian matters like money, in this case, since his Jupiter is in the 2nd house of wealth.  Jupiter is placed in Virgo, a sign which Mercury rules.  Mercury is placed in the 11th house of gains and income.  It all makes for a powerful Jupiter to be sure so I would think Trump's Jupiter dasha period will still be good for him.

But Jupiter also receives an aspect from Rahu and is aligned with destabilizing Uranus very closely.  While Trump's 2nd house Jupiter has been a big reason for his billionaire status, we should not forget he has declared bankruptcy several times also.  His wealth has been very changeable, a perfect reflection of Rahu's feast-or-famine type influence.  Rahu's aspect to Jupiter also makes Trump less likely to adhere to ethical norms perhaps as Rahu's amoral and disruptive ways undermine Jupiter's natural inclination to uphold commonly accepted standards and values.   So while Trump's Rahu gets a boost from its aspect from Jupiter, Jupiter may be damaged by its aspect from Rahu.  This is a small clue that Trump's upcoming Jupiter dasha period may be flawed in some way. 

It's also worth noting that Jupiter is only indirectly connected with status and career.  Jupiter does aspect the 10th house of status so that could boost his fortunes somewhat.  But the 11th house of gains (and winning!) is only indirectly involved through the Mercury dispositorship.  It could be that Trump's Jupiter dasha is better for fame and wealth, rather than gaining political power.

This is not at all clear cut, of course.  For forecasting a Trump election loss, I would have much rather seen his Jupiter is more obviously difficult shape.  And yet it is still quite strong, with the exception of the aspect from Rahu.  But it could lend the late September-early October period a special importance as Trump's dasha periods turn over, regardless of what Jupiter may ultimately bring.  Given Rahu's problematic influence on Jupiter, we should watch for possible lapses in Trump's moral judgment that are brought to light, or at least begin to gain traction against him.

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks have generally been mixed so far this week, after a modestly positive close to last week.  In last week's market forecast, I thought that stocks might be fairly mixed, except for Friday given the tense Moon aspect with the Sun and Mars.  Indeed, Friday was more volatile in some markets following stronger than expected US inflation data. 

The Fed meets Wednesday just after the Bank of Japan is also scheduled to issue its latest pronouncement.  There is definitely the possibility of major reactions to both of these central bank statements.  While Venus is now in Libra which is somewhat more bullish than Virgo, the short term aspects look more tense for Wednesday and Thursday.  Mercury stations direct in a close square aspect with Saturn.  Moreover, this aspect will be highlighted by the Moon, especially during Wednesday's US trading session.  So we could see some short term negative fallout to the Fed or the BOJ.  Friday looks more bullish, however, as Venus aligns with the Sun and Moon.  This positive Venus alignment also continues into early next week.

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Merkel suffers embarrassing loss in German state election

(6 September 2016)  German Chancellor Angela Merkel suffered an embarrassing defeat in regional elections over the weekend as her CDU party came in third behind the center-left SPD and the right-wing anti-immigrant AfD party.  The loss is another repudiation of Merkel's controversial open-door immigrant policy that has seen over 1 million Muslim refugees from Syria enter the country in the past year. With a general election due in the fall of 2017, Merkel and the CDU may be forced to backtrack on the immigrant policy or risk losing control of the Bundestag.

This loss fulfills a previous political astrology prediction I had made about Merkel's fortunes for 2016 due to some longer term planetary afflictions.  Following a similar state election setback in March, I suggested that the ongoing affliction by Saturn to her Ascendant for most of 2016 would cause more problems.  Interestingly, the horoscope for Germany itself was also under this Saturnian pressure as this reflects the prevailing sense of political unease about the future of the immigrant policy.

The problem for Ms. Merkel is that her Ascendant lies at 20 degrees of sidereal Scorpio.  Transiting Saturn is now at 16 Scorpio after stationing direct in the summer at 15 Scorpio.  Transiting Mars (22 Scorpio) is also nearby having just crossed her Ascendant a couple of days before.   Both Mars and Saturn are natural malefics, of course, and this double whammy tends to coincide with stressful periods and unfavourable events whenever they align with a sensitive point in a person's chart such as the Moon, the Sun, or the Ascendant. 

The affliction is duplicated in the 1871 Germany horoscope since that has the nearly exact opposite Ascendant at 19 Taurus.  Thus, the Mars-Saturn conjunction in Scorpio hits the 7th house cusp and aspects the Ascendant by opposition.  The near-mirror image of Merkel's Ascendant and Germany's Ascendant may be one reason why she has enjoyed a long tenure as Chancellor.  The aligned Ascendants make her a natural sort of mirror for the nation as she may reflect the people's consciousness and project it back to them.

And yet she seems to have miscalculated on this immigrant policy.  Her approval ratings are at a five-year low and next year's election may not go well.  It is still possible she may be forced to resign before the election in order to give the CDU a better chance of winning. 

Saturn will conjoin the Ascendant in late October and early November but I suspect some of the negativity for her has manifested already in this election result.  Saturn is still yet to hit the Ascendant but the Mars likely acted as a bridge for the slower-moving Saturn to express its influence a little ahead of time.  October will likely be stressful in any event, however, as Ketu aspects her natal Mercury, her dasha lord.  That can bring about big changes in life, usually changes that are unpleasant in some way.  A resignation is not out of the question, although I wonder if she will be involved with an unwanted event of somewhat lesser significance.

Her challenges are unlikely to ease in 2017.  Transiting Saturn (3 Sagittarius) is due to station in April 2017 exactly on her Mars in the 2nd house.  This is likely to bring new stresses and setbacks although I'm not sure they will involve her refugee policy.  The second house relates more to the economy and wealth so financial matters may be more in focus at that time.   In another parallel placement, this Saturn station will hit Germany's Moon (2 Sagittarius) very closely.  The Moon represents the people as a whole so that suggests some loss or suffering that is borne by the population as a whole.  This sounds more like an economic problems than political conflict or political damage.

Her chart doesn't look very promising for the election which will be held in either September or October next year.  Saturn will still be in her 1st house and thus will have a depressing effect on most of her actions.  Transiting Uranus will be square her Sun (as it will for the rest of 2016 and all of 2017) and thus create a destabilizing influence.  The Sun-Uranus square can reflect situations that are chaotic, disruptive and somehow out of control.  This does not bode well for her re-election in 2017.  If she is still leader of the CDU by that time, I think she will lose power.

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks have been fairly mixed in recent days following a mediocre US jobs report.  As has been the case for the past several years, bad or underwhelming economic news is good news for the stock market since it means the Federal Reserve's ultra-low interest rate policy will continue.  Near zero rates make it easier for companies to borrow money to buy back their stock, thus reducing the supply available to investors and thus bidding up the price. 

In last week's market forecast, I thought we might have seen more downside last week on the Mars-Rahu aspect although I was somewhat uncertain about how US stocks would react to the jobs report.  Friday's Mercury-Jupiter conjunction was a bullish influence but I would unsure if it would prevail.

This week again contains some bearish potential but this time without any obvious bullish Jupiter aspects which might offset the negativity.  The late week looks more vulnerable in this respect as the Moon aligns with Mars and Saturn.  Maybe this is the week where will see more of that underlying bearish influence of the Venus transit of Virgo.