Thursday, February 15, 2018

Stocks rebound as inflation worries subside

(15 February 2018) Stock markets are stabilizing this week after last week's turbulence.  Starting with last Friday's powerful rebound off the low of 23,500, we have see five straight days of gains as the Dow has climbed back above 25,000.  And yet markets will have some ways to go yet before they can recapture their highs of January 26th at 26,616.  This could be more difficult now that inflation has re-emerged as a threat to the goldilocks' economy of moderate growth, low interest rates and low inflation. 

Yesterday's CPI number was higher than expected at 2.1% and that pushed yields on the 10-year Treasury to 2.91%.  Higher bond yields are seen as problematic for stocks as they will raise borrowing costs and choke off further growth.  3% may be a key threshold in this respect.  More analysts are now questioning if this could be the end of the nine-year bull market that began after the financial crisis of 2008.

In my view, I think the bull market isn't done yet.  While we will likely see higher volatility from now on, I am expecting markets to eventually recover from this correction.  Taking the main planetary factors into consideration, I would expect there is a good chance to see higher highs later this year, most likely during the summer, and then possibly again in 2019.  Without going into an exhaustive analysis, let's just take a look at the horoscope of the New York Stock Exchange.

Just looking at the transits, we can see that the recent correction fits nicely with the 10.10 a.m. chart.  Rahu (North Lunar Node) is exactly conjunct the Ascendant (20 Cancer) while transiting Saturn (11 Sagittarius) exactly squares the natal Rahu.  By themselves, neither of these factors would likely have brought about much downside.  While both are considered malefic planets, other factors can often alter how they influence collective sentiment.  But together, they provided a key element in turning market sentiment negative.   In fact, we can also infer that their unique interrelationship in this alignment was crucial. Saturn's negative aspect to natal Rahu may have been transferred and amplified by the fact that by transit, Rahu was conjunct the most sensitive point in the whole chart, the Ascendant.  This created a kind of malefic feedback loop between the malefics Saturn and Rahu.  As if they were handing off a bearish baton in a race, Saturn to Rahu, and then Rahu to the Ascendant, and hence the chart as a whole.

The rebound we have seen since February 9th has not only reflected the fact that Saturn has now moved past its square with Rahu, but that positive transits are now occurring involving the natal Jupiter (2 Libra), and by extension, the very strong Jupiter-Mercury-Pluto alignment which resonances very strongly at 2 degrees of those planet's respective signs.  We had a solar eclipse this afternoon at 3 degrees of sidereal Aquarius which highlighted this Jupiter alignment very nicely.  Given the significant interruption effects of eclipses, however, there is a real chance we could see stocks fall back somewhat in the days ahead. 

I would expect some pullback tomorrow (Friday, the 16th) as well as into next week as the positive transits are moving away from the Jupiter alignment and malefic Mars comes under the aspect of Rahu.  Actually, Mars will also cast its square aspect on Neptune (Feb 17th), Venus (Feb 24th) and then Mercury (Feb 28th).  These various Mars influences are negative and could offset the ongoing positive influence of the approaching Jupiter retrograde station on March 8th which aligns closely with the natal Moon in the NYSE chart.

It is difficult to predict how far stocks may fall in the rest of February.  Perhaps not as far as in the first part of the month.  While I think there could be more upside again in March, the outlook for April looks much more troublesome given the Mars-Saturn conjunction and the Saturn retrograde station.   In other words, bullish investors may have to be patient for a while before the market resumes its upward climb. 

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.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Stocks wobble as bond yields rise; bitcoin crashes below 10K

(1 February 2018) US stocks are looking a bit shaky this week after a rare two-day decline on Monday and Tuesday.   Investors became skittish as bond yields rose to their highest since 2014.   As the economy continues to improve under Trump, inflation expectations are rising.  This, in turn, is making yields more competitive with stocks as the yield on the 2-year Treasury is now higher than the dividend yield on the S&P 500 for the first time since 2009.  If yields continue to rise, stocks will become more vulnerable to a correction.  Some analysts are suggesting that 3% on the 10-year Treasury could be the make-or-break level to watch.  Currently, it is 2.79%. 

This week's market jitters may be seen through several charts but perhaps most clearly through the NASDAQ horoscope (Feb 8 1971).   While there are several placements that are contributing to this uncertainty, it is likely the transit of Mars through Scorpio that is the triggering factor.  Earlier in the week Mars was exactly conjunct the 8th house cusp at 8 Scorpio.  This is the same as a 150-degree inconjunct alignment with the Ascendant in the NASDAQ chart.  Mars is often a bearish planet and it is more likely to coincide with down days while associated with the 8th house.   In traditional astrology, the 8th (along with the 6th and 12th) are seen as more negative.  The negative outcome to the Mars transit was likely increased due to the proximity of Jupiter and Neptune to the Mars transit. 

But Mars doesn't always produce down days when it aligns with the cusp of the 8th house (N.B.  it does so about once every two years).  Other factors may also had a hand in creating the conditions for this pullback.  Saturn (10 Sagittarius) is close to Venus (9 Sagittarius) and may have been resonating with Mars as it neared the the 10th degree of Scorpio.  Mars and Saturn tend to be more bearish planets in their effects.  In addition, the South Lunar Node (Ketu) is in a wide conjunction with the Sun (25 Capricorn) while the North Lunar Node (Rahu) is now approaching its trine aspect with natal Mars (17 Scorpio). 


But where are stocks going from here?  Is this just a brief dip after which the rally will resume or is this the beginning of a shift in sentiment which could lead to a major correction?  I think the next week or two could see more difficulties since Mars will remain in Scorpio.  Even the next few days could be more volatile than normal as Mars conjoins Jupiter.  Today (Thursday) stocks have fallen again.   That said, next week looks less negative overall given the Venus-Uranus aspect on Tuesday the 6th and the Sun-Jupiter alignment on Friday the 9th.  I would also pay special attention to the time around the Mars-Rahu alignment in mid-February as this will provide a double activation of the natal Mars in the NASDAQ chart. 

The fact that Jupiter is due to station retrograde on March 8th would suggest that there may be a return to optimism as we get closer to that date.  This suggests that the rally may not be over just yet.  Whether there is enough optimism to push stocks to new all-time highs is harder to say, however.   The astrology does not offer clear evidence on that question.  While I do think markets are likely to suffer a larger correction (>10%) sometime in the next 3-4 months, I would not say it is likely to occur here in February.  We may only be getting a more modest trial run.

A bit on Bitcoin

All the news is bad these days for cryptocurrencies.  New reports of hacking, more government regulations, and more questions about whether it is simply a massive bubble.  Bitcoin has now lost 50% of its value from its high near $20,000 as BTC traded below $10,000 this week.  The correction itself isn't too surprising although the size of the decline is.   Previously, I suggested the Uranus direct station in early January could change the dynamic for a while and force prices lower. 

I think there is some chance for a rebound in the coming weeks, but it looks unlikely to recover its previous levels.  One potential key date may the Jupiter retrograde station on March 8th.  Jupiter symbolizes optimism and expansion and its change in direction can sometimes coincide with shifts in market mood.  On this occasion, we should note that the Jupiter station occurs at 29 Libra which is exactly square the Ascendant (29 Cancer) of the First Trade chart (12 Jan 2009, Temple City, CA).  This First Trade chart is far from being reliable data so we shouldn't place too much importance on the position of the Jupiter station. Nonetheless, it bears watching.  After March, the chart looks increasingly stressed.  This hints at lower lows for BTC in the second quarter of 2018. 

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, January 15, 2018

The financial outlook for 2018: more Saturn, less Jupiter

(15 January 2018) After a banner year in 2017 which saw US stocks gain more than 20%, the financial outlook for 2018 looks decidedly more difficult.  The stock market is a forward-looking discounting mechanism as investors have bid up stocks in anticipation of higher growth from the pro-business policies of the Trump administration.  Tax cuts and reduced regulation are key reasons why markets are expecting corporate earnings and GDP to enjoy more robust growth in 2018.  While the promised infrastructure program may well give an additional boost to the market, many analysts are suggesting that the outsized gains of 2017 cannot be repeated in 2018.  But just what can investors reasonably expect? 

The astrological indications tend to concur with a view of diminished expectations.  The Trump rally in stocks can be analyzed in various ways but I find the simplest way is to look at the key financial horoscopes.  If we look at the chart of most widely cited stock average in the world, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), we can see the reasons for why 2017 was such a bullish year and why 2018 may be more problematic.  (N.B.  I am using an estimated time of 5 p.m. based on the historical evidence; the precise time is less important for my analysis in any event.)

The dominant transits in 2017 were largely positive.  Bullish Jupiter made significant aspects several times throughout the year.  In early 2017, it stationed retrograde at 29 Virgo and thus aligned very closely with both Venus (1 Taurus) and Mercury (1 Gemini) within just two degrees for the first three months of the year.   The bullish Jupiter influence was reinforced by the transit of Uranus from 0 to 4 degrees of Aries from March through to the end of the year.  Uranus is also a bullish planet when it forms close alignments with benefic planets like Mercury and Venus as was the case in 2017.  In a sense, the timing was near-perfect as the Jupiter alignment made the first quarter of 2017 positive and then handed off the bullish baton to Uranus for the second quarter and indeed the rest of the year.

Jupiter again re-entered the picture by September, as it entered sidereal Libra which is the 1st house in the Dow chart.  This is a classic indication of rising confidence and optimism.  Not surprisingly, stocks extended their gains in the fourth quarter of 2017.  Jupiter exactly conjoined the Ascendant at 21 Libra in December. 

But market outcomes are determined not only by assessing the impact of favourable transits but also by taking into account unfavourable transits involving malefic planets.  As in traditional Western astrology, Vedic astrology holds that Saturn and the Lunar Nodes, Rahu and Ketu, are generally malefic influences.  This is not always the case as exceptions abound but they are more negative in their transit effects than other planets. 

Also, the outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto can exert a malefic influence if they form hard aspects (90,180 degrees) to important points in the chart.  They become more bullish when they form soft aspects.  This may well have been the case in 2017 as slow-moving Neptune formed a "soft" trine 120 degree aspect with the Ascendant for most of the year.

As it happened, we did have some negative Saturn aspects in 2017 but they were largely offset by the simultaneous presence of other planets.  Bearish Saturn (1 Sagittarius) opposed Mercury (1 Gemini) on three separate occasions during the year but some of the negative influence was likely mitigated by the presence of Uranus near the same degree (1 Aries).  If Uranus had not created a three-planet alignment, then the Saturn-Mercury opposition likely would have produced more downside.   I wonder if the presence of Uranus may also have blunted the often negative effect of the nodal semi-return when Tr Rahu conjoined Ketu in May and June.  Uranus was fairly close to a 120 degree alignment with the nodes at that time.  And of course, we should not forget that the ongoing Jupiter and Neptune influences also created a moderating effect on the negative Saturn or nodal transits. 

2018 Forecast

But 2018 looks less positive.  On the plus side, Jupiter will continue to transit the 1st house for the first 9 months of the year.  While this is a clear positive influence on market sentiment, it may not be as positive as it was last year because of the relative lack of close aspects with important points in the chart.  It will conjoin natal Uranus (29 Libra) in March so that may highlight a bullish time.  And its conjunction with the Ascendant and Saturn (21 Libra) from June to August also hints at a significant up trend during the summer. 

But the key difference this year is that the malefic aspects look like they will pack a bigger punch.  For its part, Saturn will align closely with the Moon-Sun opposition from March to June.  The Moon-Sun opposition at 13 degrees of Scorpio and Taurus is the central feature in the Dow chart so the extended influence of Saturn on these planets is more likely to bring pessimism and caution.  To be sure, Saturn is not casting its full-strength Vedic aspect to either planet but the alignment is so close -- just two degrees at the time of the Saturn retrograde station in April -- that we should see some effects from it.  At very least, it suggests the Trump rally will be interrupted for a while.  But it may well signal a significant decline.   I discuss in more detail this upcoming Saturn pattern in my weekly newsletter.

The other important alignment that stands out in 2018 is the Saturn-Uranus-Rahu configuration from August to October.  Two of the three planets are malefics so the alignment is more likely to coincide with a decline.  What is interesting here is that both Saturn and Uranus will station in a near-exact 120 degree alignment.  This is a soft aspect so perhaps it may not be that damaging.  But the stations reflect situations of greater intensity and could well signal some important developments in financial markets.  One saving grace is that the alignment does not appear to hit any key points in the Dow natal chart, either positive or negative.  So if there is a late summer sell-off, it could be fairly modest.

Whereas 2017 didn't see any pullbacks greater than 3%, it seems more likely that we will have at least two distinct down periods in 2018.  Both should be much larger declines and I would think at least one of them could turn out to be a full-blown correction of at least 10%.  With two significant pullbacks likely in 2018, it will be much harder for stocks to post another winning year.  It is still possible that rallies may be large enough to offset the corrections, although it could be tough going for stocks. 

Weekly Forecast

Most world stock markets hit new all-time highs last week on extended New Year's optimism.  The Dow hit 25,800 on Friday while India's Sensex is fast approaching 35,000 after Monday's gain.  These highs were in keeping with last week's market forecast as I thought the multi-planet Jupiter alignment would likely coincide with some upside.  However, I also thought we might have seen some profit taking later in the week as some of these aspects began to separate.  Alas, market bulls continued to rule the roost.

Nonetheless, this week looks less positive as Mars enters sidereal Scorpio.  This doesn't always translate into declines but it still argues for some added caution.  Friday's Moon-Mars square looks most volatile in that respect.  That said, some gains should also be forthcoming given the conjunction of the New Moon with Venus this week.  It is difficult to say where stocks will end up, however.

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.

Friday, January 5, 2018

North Korea: the shadow that hangs over 2018

(5 January 2018) With the arrival a New Year, most people look forward to a fresh opportunity to realize their hopes and aspirations as they put the past behind them.   The forward passage of time is one of the sources of human resilience as the inherent optimism of our species is born anew. And yet, this year the specter of conflict with North Korea hangs over the world. 

The war of words between the two bellicose leaders of the US and North Korea that began last year has continued into 2018.  Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump have both boasted about the nuclear buttons while strategic analysts have put the odds of military action near 50%.  And with military action comes the very real risk that nuclear weapons could be used by both sides.  

Interestingly, in his New Year's speech North Korea's Kim Jong-un has extended an olive branch to South Korea over his country's participation in the Winter Olympics which will be held in Pyeongchang.  South Korea has welcomed the overture and the two sides are now in talks to facilitate the North Korean team to participate in February's games.   Moreover, the disused hotline between Seoul and Pyongyang has again been activated in order to encourage better communication.  Clearly, all is not lost and there are real grounds for hope that conflict can be avoided. 

And yet, the planetary alignments do not paint a supporting picture of reconciliation and peace.  Most of the horoscopes of the key players point to serious difficulties over the next few months.   I have previously discussed the afflictions in the charts of the USA and Donald Trump.  The Mars-Saturn conjunction in early April hits both of those charts very squarely and suggest a major development.  To be sure, the connection with military action and North Korea is less clear in those charts. 

Trump's Mercury (15 Gemini) is opposed by the Mars-Saturn and seems less conducive to military action and more to economic dislocation.  Similarly, the USA's Jupiter (15 Gemini) will receive those malefic aspects around the same time in March-April.  Since Jupiter is the chart ruler for the USA (sidereal Sagittarius rising), we can imagine that any resulting events could be significant to the country as a whole.

The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics: diplomatic opportunity or geopolitical risk?

But while the planetary alignments are tense in April, the situation may be complicated by the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.  For the moment, the Olympics look like an opportunity to defuse the tension on the Korean peninsula as the South is open to allowing the North to participate.  But the horoscope for the Olympics looks difficult.  The games begin at 8 p.m. local time on 9 February and the chart has a difficult Moon-Mars conjunction in Scorpio in the 4th house suggesting an air of tension and conflict may mark the event.  Mars squares Neptune which hints at hidden or secret conflict including the possibility of espionage. 

Even more problematic is that by transit, Mars will conjoin the Moon about 5 days after the opening ceremonies and then exactly square Neptune about a week after that while the games are still going on. The Mercury-Ketu conjunction occurs on the 6th house cusp at 20 Capricorn and underscores the theme of confusion or chaotic communication.  It is possible that these planets could merely reflect controversies in the sporting arena itself (drug tests, contested results, etc) but overall the chart leaves something to be desired.

And it is worth noting that Kim Jong-un's chart looks tense during the Olympics.  Transiting Rahu (20 Capricorn) is aspecting his Ketu (21 Scorpio) and square his Saturn (20 Libra).  That nodal influence seems mostly unhelpful and disruptive of his goals and ambitions.  Transiting Mars will conjoin his Venus at the start of the games which can reflect social situations requiring higher energy.  But it may also indicate upset and anger.  This is more likely to be the case as the Olympics goes on as Mars will square his Moon in the following week and then conjoin his Ketu.  That Mars-Rahu-Ketu alignment is probably the most worrisome alignment at this time and will be closest on Feb 19-20.  The games are due to finish on the 25th. 

Even with these somewhat tense alignments, I would still not be surprised if the games came off without a hitch.  As in the case of all people with high public profile, it may be that the problems may be largely behind the scenes.  In any event, the more significant alignments appear to be focused in April.  Perhaps the Olympics set the stage for the tension to erupt again.  South Korea and the US have now agreed not to conduct any military exercises during the games but once they are done, they could return to a more confrontational stance.  In the South Korean horoscope, we can see that the Mars-Saturn conjunction at 15 Gemini on 3 April will oppose the natal Venus.  That isn't necessary an obvious pattern for military conflict but it nonetheless speaks to some kind of significant national problem. 

The exact station doesn't occur until April 17th and will form a 3rd house/60 degree aspect to Kim Jong-un's Moon.  This transit usually reflects setbacks or heavy burdens.  Events are more likely to go against North Korea in April due to the Sun-Uranus conjunction in early Aries which exactly opposes Kim's Mars at 4 Libra.   The involvement with Mars here raises the possibility of some kind of military event occurring in April. 

And while the planets look pretty bad in April, I don't think this will produce a resolution of the stand-off with North Korea.   It may reflect only a limited military action which does not involve nuclear weapons.  Another difficult pattern is upcoming in the late summer or early fall of 2018 so the geopolitical tension is likely to continue.

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks have begun 2018 where they left off in 2017 as the Dow has hit a new record high above 25,000 this week.   The gains were not unexpected as I thought next week's big Jupiter alignment could well push most global markets higher in early January.  And as expected, we did see some brief declines on Jan 1-2 on the Mars-Rahu (North Node) square in Europe and India.

Next week's multi-planet alignment could provide more clues about the future direction of the markets.   The Mars-Jupiter conjunction occurs at 24 Libra on Sunday the 7th while the Sun-Venus-Pluto conjunction at 25 Libra hits on Tuesday the 9th.   These two conjunctions may prove to be significant since they will resonate with each other by virtue of falling at 24-25 degrees of their respective signs.  While these conjunctions are bullish, they could also represent a kind of high water mark for the markets.  The optimism reflected in this Jupiter alignment could peak here in early January and elevate the risk of declines as the planets begin to separate later this week and 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.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Trump tax bill: will it save the GOP in November?

(27 December 2017) With the first year of his presidency almost done, President Donald Trump finally scored a much-needed legislative win with the passage of his tax overhaul bill.   As Trump signed the bill into law last Friday, the GOP have turned their sights to next November's midterm elections.  Trump is betting on the tax cut to win back voters who have thus far been alienated from his tumultuous and divisive presidency.  

There is a lot riding on next year's midterms.  With Trump's approval ratings still below 40%, the Democrats are favored to win the House of Representatives and to have a decent chance of winning back the Senate.  If the GOP loses control of both Houses of Congress, the Trump agenda would effectively be neutralized until 2020.   Also, a Democrat-controlled Congress would very likely move toward impeachment of President Trump. 

So will Trump's tax cut achieve its desired ends and help the GOP hold onto Congress next year?  One perspective on this question is to examine the horoscope for the time that Trump signed it into law.  Using this "birth chart" for the tax bill, we can then see how the planets are aligned with this chart in November.  A favorable alignment of planets in November would suggest that the tax bill would boost GOP fortunes while negative alignments may project the more negative aspects of the bill and correspond with an electoral defeat.

Prelude: The Reagan Tax Cuts

Before we look at the charts, let's take a look at the most appropriate historical precedent for Trump's tax bill, namely, the famous Reagan tax bill from 1981.  This bill cut taxes and was widely credited for boosting economic activity in the 1980s.   However, it is not a clear-cut historical judgment since it is also increased the deficit and likely widened economic inequality.   President Reagan signed the bill on August 13, 1981.  Interestingly, the Republicans did poorly in the subsequent midterm elections in November 1982.   The economy was still struggling through a recession so the tax cut bill was not well received by voters.

As we can see in the chart, this largely negative evaluation is evident in the transits on Election Day 1982.   On the plus side, transiting Jupiter (25 Libra) is just past its trine aspect with Mars (24 Gemini) which ordinarily is associated with positive action.   The Republicans did at least keep their Senate majority that year even if that was never really in question. 

But the most outstanding configuration is the Saturn-Pluto conjunction at 3 Libra which is exactly square to the Moon at 3 Capricorn.  This is an extremely difficult pattern which would more likely bring out the negative side of the natal horoscope of the 1981 tax bill.  This is especially true since the Moon represents the people or population as a whole.   The American people were not happy with the Reagan administration at this time as the GOP lost 25 House seats. 

But by the next presidential election in 1984, the economy had improved.   As a result, the Republicans boosted their standing in the House although the Democrats retained control and Reagan was re-elected in a landslide against Walter Mondale.    The GOP kept control of the Senate.  

And true to the logic of astrology, the horoscope of the 1981 tax cut was in much better shape in the fall of 1984.  Saturn (25 Libra) is in a more benign position here in the 2nd house and was not making any full strength aspects to any planet.  It is making a partial strength trine aspect with Mars but the trine is generally more positive than the square.  Jupiter is not prominent here although it is helping the 4th house of sentiment and satisfaction. 

Most noteworthy is that Rahu (North Lunar Node) creates a symmetrical grand trine with Venus (0 Virgo) and the Moon (3 Capricorn).  Also Rahu can be an unpredictable planet, it can be positive when it is associated with benefics, as is the case here with the Moon and Venus.   The Sun (21 Libra) forms a nice trine aspect to the 10th house cusp (22 Gemini) while Venus conjoins Neptune (28 Scorpio) and trines the Sun (27 Cancer). 

It's a much better chart for the 1984 election and should be seen as one reason at least why Reagan's economic agenda carried the day. 

The Trump tax bill and the 2018 midterms

The midterms will be held on November 6, 2018.  The resulting transit overlay chart suggests difficulty for Trump and the GOP.  To be sure, it is not all bad.  The conjunction of the Sun (20 Libra) to Jupiter (21 Libra) is quite positive.  And the Mercury-Jupiter conjunction in Scorpio in the 10th house is good for public profile.  But Jupiter isn't doing all that much actually especially when we consider the negatives.  The nodes, Rahu and Ketu are close to their respective 6th and 12th houses cusps.  This can be disruptive of intended goals and may not correspond with desired circumstances for the GOP.  Also we should note the near exact degreewise alignment of the nodes at 5 degrees with the Sun-Saturn conjunction at 6 degrees of Sagittarius in the natal chart.  While this is not a conventional Vedic aspect, it looks more negative than positive.  Uranus at 5 Aries is also not helpful.

And the other big problem here is that transiting Saturn (11 Sagittarius) will be almost exactly conjunct the equal 11th house cusp.  Certainly, Saturn rules the chart as a whole (since Aquarius is rising) so it's not all bad in its transits.  But the contact between Saturn and the 11th house of gains seems problematic.   Some astrologers may offer a more positive interpretation of this transit but I would not, especially given the weight of the other alignments in the chart. 

The bottom line to me is that the Trump tax bill is not likely to help the GOP much in the midterm elections.   Most current polls have them losing control of at least one chamber.   This tax bill chart suggests that those polls are more likely to be proven correct.   Whether they lose both the House and Senate is impossible to say from this chart alone.  

Weekly Market Forecast

Stock markets have held steady into this week after rallying in the lead-in to the passage of the Trump tax overhaul.   The Dow is still trading above 24,500 while India's Sensex is trading just below 34,000.  As expected, we did get some minor selling late last week.  Also Bitcoin rebounded more or less as predicted in last week's market forecast after the culmination of the last Mars transit to the Bitcoin horoscope on Dec 23rd.

Mercury has returned to direct motion now and will align with Jupiter and Rahu for the rest of this week.  One would think that should boost sentiment during this final week of 2017.   I would therefore be surprised if we got any big declines here and more upside is still possible.  As we head into January, we may see a rise in caution on Jan 1 and 2 given the Mars-Rahu square.  The proximity of Jupiter to Mars could offset some of the destabilizing effects of this pairing but risk is nonetheless elevated.  I am still keenly focused on the multi-planet alignment on January 8-9 for clues for future market direction.

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.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Mars sideswipes Bitcoin as price falls 20%

(20 December 2017) The Bitcoin mania continues after the cryptocurrency traded near $20,000 over the weekend.  Bitcoin's profile was further heightened on Sunday as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) began to offer BTC Futures following the lead of the CBOE which initiated futures trading last week.  While there is some variation in prices depending on the exchange, BTC hit about 19,700 on Sunday, 17 December before pulling back.  The past few days has seen Bitcoin trade below $16,000 although currently trading near $17,000. 

This 15-20% pullback closely coincides with a prediction I made about the price of Bitcoin last week.  I had suggested that a series of transits involving the planet Mars to key planets in the BTC first trade chart could bring about some declines.  I had had some doubts about the usefulness of the first trade chart (12 January 2009), but the current pullback seems to line up well with the planetary influences. 

I had thought that the Mars-Moon square (i.e. when Mars was 90 degrees from the natal Moon) on 19th December could coincide with some nervousness in the bitcoin market.  That is just two days after the 17 December top as prices have fallen on the 18th, 19th and the 20th.  Mars was just one degree from its exact square aspect during the start of this decline.  A fairly close correlation.

Mars is also now squaring Mercury in the chart and that also explains why prices remain under pressure today (Wednesday).  I would think Mars will continue to be a negative factor until 23rd December when it squares the Lunar Node (Rahu).  Due to the clustering of planets in Capricorn, however, I'm less certain that the transit effects will closely coincide with exact aspects.  When planets are grouped together as in this chart (Moon, Mercury, Lunar Node, Jupiter, Neptune), the effects of stressful transits can sometimes be diffused.  Nonetheless, this suggests that BTC is less likely to rebound strongly to new highs over the next few days.

I would think prices are more likely to rise after Christmas.  However, as I noted in my previous Bitcoin post, the Uranus direct station on 2nd January could be significant.  Uranus represents technology in general and its station at 0 degrees of sidereal Aries forms a close alignment to the Ascendant in the first trade chart.  Of course, I'm not at all sure that this chart (and the Ascendant) is reliable but it is definitely something to watch out for.  The Uranus station hints at weakness, or at least a reduction in volatility in both directions.  Without the strong Uranian influence in recent weeks, Bitcoin may be more likely to move in a narrower trading range on any given day.  More than a bullish or bearish indication perhaps, the 2nd January Uranus station may signal a lessening of the wild swings in price for the next few weeks. 

As before, I think more upside is very possible in the first months of 2018.  I would think higher highs are more likely than not, although forecasting prices is purely speculative. How high Bitcoin could go is therefore impossible for me to say.  But I do think that April-May looks more troublesome as Saturn turns retrograde and the Lunar Nodes form a semi-return with the natal chart.  But that also depends on how workable this first trade chart is.  So far, it seems to reflect changing sentiment at least partially, October notwithstanding.  But I would need to see more evidence before feeling comfortable with it.

Weekly Market Forecast

The stock market remains as buoyant as ever as investors welcome the news of the passage of the Trump tax bill.  The business-friendly tax overhaul has the Dow again trading at record highs while India's Sensex matched its recent all-time high a bit below 34,000.  This ongoing rally is not surprising as the late December planetary alignments look fairly positive.  As I noted in last week's market forecast, we got some mild selling in the second half of the week following the Fed meeting but stocks have rebounded strongly this week as Venus enters Sagittarius today and Mercury stations direct in alignment with bullish Jupiter. 

The rest of this week looks less positive as the Moon is squared by Mars and the Sun conjoins Saturn.  But with Jupiter aligning with the Lunar Nodes and Pluto next week, one would expect the Santa Claus rally to prevail once again this year.

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, December 12, 2017

Bitcoin goes mainstream as futures trading begins

(12 December 2017) The incredible story of Bitcoin began a new chapter on Sunday as futures of the cryptocurrency began trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange at 6.00 pm EST.   Suddenly, the hitherto cultish Bitcoin has burst onto the mainstream as a testament to its relevance in our wired world.  2017 may well be remembered, among other things, as the year of Bitcoin as the computer-based open source currency has risen from $1000 in January to over $18,000.  Bitcoin has attracted huge interest from both novice and institutional investors alike as a possible alternative to government-based fiat currencies. 

While many analysts think it is in a bubble, no one is quite sure when that bubble may burst.  And even if it is a bubble, there is a growing consensus that Bitcoin and its blockchain technology is here to stay.   With the start of futures trading, it seems there are two schools of thought about the future direction of Bitcoin's price.  The optimistic bulls see this mainstreaming of the cyptocurrency as an opportunity for demand to rise as a wider range of people and institutions try to get a piece of the action.  A more cautious, bearish view is that the introduction of futures trading will give larger investors the means to short, or bet against, Bitcoin and this could tank the price in the coming weeks and months.

In my post from September, I thought that the parabolic rally in Bitcoin would likely continue but only after a pullback in October.  Using the first trade horoscope from January 12, 2009, I had expected the Saturn-Lunar Node aspect in early October to correspond with some declines in the price but this did not materialize.   This missed prediction was perhaps due to a miscalculation on my part, and also may have reflected a data error in the horoscope itself.  As I noted, it is unclear which date, time and place we should use as the "birth" of Bitcoin.  For this reason, I was fairly guarded in my prediction as it depended on some speculative assumptions such as the location of Temple City, California where Bitcoin co-founder Hal Finney lived.

Given this missed prediction, I have some doubts about this January 12th chart and yet the timing of Sunday's first futures trade would seem to offer some additional evidence for it.  The first Bitcoin futures traded just as Mercury was in a near-exact trine/120 degree aspect with Uranus, the planet of technology.  And these two planets were in turn, in a near-exact 120/240 degree alignment with the Ascendant at 29 Cancer.  The Asc-Mercury-Uranus alignment speaks to important communications and innovations pertaining to Bitcoin.  It is also part of the reason why the Futures rose by 20% in the first trading session.

The approaching Uranus direct station at 0 Aries is one reason for the current rally.  Uranus will station direct at 0 Aries on January 2nd and thus form a very powerful alignment with the Ascendant in this proposed Bitcoin chart.  I suspect the frenzied rally in recent weeks is partially due to the approach of this very close 120 degree alignment with the Ascendant.   But then the question is: what happens after the station when Uranus begins to separate from its alignment with Ascendant.  Conventional astrological thinking would suggest that euphoria and price would tend to diminish after this date, albeit only gradually. 

Bitcoin Outlook

I am still generally bullish for Bitcoin for the next few months.  Some downside looks more likely during the approach of Christmas as transiting Mars aligns with the Moon, Mercury and and the Lunar Nodes in the Bitcoin first trade chart.  Let's see if this Mars transit after Dec 19th has more effect than the Saturn aspect in October did. 

Another possible shift in sentiment may occur after Uranus turns direct on Jan 2nd.  Since Uranus may have been a bullish influence recently, it's separation from its aspect with Ascendant could see less euphoria in the Bitcoin market. 

I can see that the Saturn retrograde station in April could bring about some significant declines.  Whether Bitcoin is still in a parabolic rally at that time is harder to say.  But it does seem more probable that it will undergo some correction at that time. 

Weekly Market Forecast

Stock remain fairly buoyant over the past week as last week's US jobs report was strong although wage growth was quite modest.  As per last week's market forecast, we did see some downside last week on the Mercury-Saturn conjunction but stocks bounced later in the week as Venus aligned with Neptune.

This week again could bring some downside, probably as a result of tomorrow's Fed meeting.  The Sun conjoins Mercury retrograde and that is often a problematic influence.  Mars conjoins the Moon on Wednesday also so that would hint that the bears may have the advantage in the short run.  While the markets may cheer the very likely Moore win in Alabama because it will protect the working GOP majority in the Senate, I wonder if Janet Yellen may say something that upsets the prevailing optimism.  It's something to watch out for.

Even if we get a down week next week, the approaching alignment of Jupiter with Pluto and the Lunar Nodes over the second half of December would suggest that declines may not last and that further rises are very possible.

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.