Sunday, March 24, 2019

Mueller finds no evidence of Russia-Trump conspiracy; Jupiter enters Sagittarius

(24 March 2019) They don't call Jupiter the Great Benefic for nothing.  Just ask President Donald Trump.  Today, US Special Counsel Robert Mueller finally handed down his report into the possible conspiracy between the Russian government and Trump campaign during the 2016 election.  Mueller found that there was no evidence for a conspiracy although he did not exonerate Trump for possible obstruction of justice charges.  While the full details of the report are not yet known, the initial impact has been positive for Trump and his beleaguered administration.

While I still expect the other shoe to drop for the Trump administration later this year, I was not surprised by this finding.  Trump's horoscope is looking pretty good these days, mostly due to the favourable placement of transiting Jupiter.  Jupiter (29 Scorpio) is slowing down now ahead of its retrograde station on April 10.  It is in close conjunction with his Moon (28 Scorpio) and also activates his Sun (29 Taurus) by opposition.  So this Jupiter transit was doubly positive for Trump since it aligned with both the Moon and Sun.  And with the upcoming station so close at hand at 0 Sagittarius, the transit was more likely to coincide with significant developments that would elevate his status and power.  The conjunction of Mars (1 Taurus) with his Midheaven (10th house cusp) was a very appropriate accent on the events of the day as Mars/10th house transits are often positive.

So is that it?  Is Trump now free and clear?  I don't think so. The summer still looks like his most difficult period as the protective effects of Jupiter diminish as it moves into the background in his chart.  Saturn will become more dominant once again as it will align with his Ascendant for several months around the time of its direct station.

Trump may well fall back into the soup later this week when Mars squares its natal position on Wednesday and Thursday. Interestingly, Mercury will end its retrograde cycle at the same time in an unusual conjunction with Neptune.  This will align with Trump's Ascendant and could coincide with some deception or confusion regarding communication.  Mercury-Neptune conjunctions are notorious for situations of confusion and deception and the particular placement of this conjunction at 22 Aquarius makes me think that Trump will suffer in some way.  New evidence against him may well come to light.

Any new developments this week are unlikely to completely undo the feeling of relief in the Trump camp but it could well indicate that the other investigations by the SDNY and the House of Representatives will get new life.  Whatever happens, I would expect his situation to significantly worsen by June.  His next solar return chart (June 14 2019) is extremely tense and suggests that his job may well be at stake. As astrology teaches us, what Jupiter gives Saturn can take away. 

Weekly Market Forecast

Jupiter's entry into Sagittarius could also help the stock market this week.   Stocks looked shaky last week following a fairly downbeat Fed statement on Wednesday.  While Jay Powell promised no more rate hikes in 2019, his more pessimistic tone about the US economy caught some investors off-guard.  The fragile state of the economy suggests the low rate environment will remain in place indefinitely and a rate cut could happen as soon as June.

Jupiter enters sidereal Sagittarius on Wednesday according to the Krishnamurti ayanamsha (Friday according to Lahiri) so I would expect some upside this week.  Tuesday's Moon-Jupiter conjunction may be the most bullish day on paper in that respect. Venus aligns with Uranus and Chiron on Wednesday so that may also provide a boost to sentiment.  The late week Mercury-Neptune conjunction is more of a question mark, however.  If stocks are up by Wednesday, then that might translate into some profit taking later in the week.  At this point, next week also looks somewhat more bearish as Mars aligns with Uranus and Chiron while Mercury is aspected by Saturn.  Gains may therefore be short-lived.

The end of this impressive post-Christmas rally may be getting rather close now.  Jupiter turns retrograde in early April (on April 10th) so that could prove to be significant.  I would not expect a reversal exactly on that date, however, but rather look as the month as a whole as having a higher potential for a change in the up trend.

For a more detailed analysis, please check out my weekly subscriber newsletter which is published every Saturday afternoon (EST).   I outline the key technical and planetary influences for US and Indian stocks, as well as currencies, gold and oil.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Markets await Fed decision tomorrow

(19 March 2019) The Federal Reserve meets tomorrow to issue its latest policy pronouncements on the state of the US economy.  Financial markets are not anticipating any changes in interest rates but Chair Jay Powell's language will be watched carefully as usual.  Since the Fed suddenly reversed itself in early January to a more dovish stance (i.e. no more hikes), stock markets have risen sharply as the low current interest rate environment can keep the debt-driven expansion afloat a while longer. 

While the continued low rates are good news for the markets, the economic data is starting to show signs of a slowdown.  A recession in the US is looking increasingly possible within the next 6-12 months.  Investors now have to weigh the relative benefit of the Fed's cheap money with the likelihood of lower corporate earnings. 

It is unclear what tone Powell will strike.  If he chooses to emphasize the slowdown in the economy, it could scare investors out of stocks.  He may also announce an end to QT (quantitative tightening) which has been reducing the Fed's balance sheet by selling the assets it bought during QE (2008-2014).  The end to the QT unwinding would be bullish, as long as the rest of his message didn't stray too far from his previous upbeat remarks about the economy. 

The planetary situation for tomorrow suggests a likely emphasis on prudence and caution.  Retrograde Mercury will fall under the exact aspect of Saturn tomorrow and this is more likely to symbolize cautious actions based on methodical analysis.  It is possible to see this both ways.  Caution may mean he is still very dovish with a possible end to QT.  But caution may also mean a bias towards prudent fiscal management which would tend to suggest a more hawkish approach in keeping with his preference for rate normalization (i.e. rates could rise again later in the year).  I should note that the Saturn-Mercury aspect also tends to be bearish in terms of overall sentiment.

But the picture is complicated due to the simultaneous alignment of the Moon, Venus, Mars and Jupiter, and the Lunar Nodes, Rahu and Ketu.  (We can throw in the Full Moon as well.)  While such multi-planet alignments tend to be bullish, the presence of Mars and Ketu in the mix here reduces the probability of gains tomorrow and for the rest of the week.  This increases the odds somewhat of a negative market reaction to the Fed decision.  While it appears bearish,  I would not say I have high confidence in that outcome as there are too many variables in play.  Nonetheless, the unusually high number of alignments raises the possibility for a large price move.

From a technical perspective, today's intraday reversal at 2850 on the SPX was a possible sign of some downside to come, depending on what the Fed does tomorrow.  

Even if we get some downside this week as I expect, the prospect for a rebound is quite good, since Jupiter will station retrograde on April 10th.  The time around Jupiter stations have a bullish bias which could offset any possible late March decline.  However, Saturn is also due to station retrograde on April 30th.  This tends to be bearish in the days around the station and may well undermine any preceding gains made under Jupiter's influence.

Taken together, this suggests there could significant moves in both directions in the weeks ahead.

For a more detailed analysis, please check out my weekly subscriber newsletter which is published every Saturday afternoon (EST).   I outline the key technical and planetary influences for US and Indian stocks, as well as currencies, gold and oil.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

To Brexit or not to Brexit, that is the question

(12 March 2019) The UK edged one step closer to the precipice today as Parliament voted down a second Brexit proposal by Prime Minister Theresa May.  It was a crushing defeat for Ms. May after apparently negotiating better terms with her EU counterpart in Brussels.  The UK Parliament is due to vote on a no-deal Brexit tomorrow (Wednesday) which is widely expected to be defeated.  It will then vote for an extension of Article 50 on Thursday to ask Brussels for a delay past the March 29th deadline to leave the EU.  If the Thursday vote passes, then anything is possible, including a fresh elections, a second referendum and maybe no Brexit at all. 

It's a chaotic situation with no easy solutions.  To be honest, I have no idea what's going happen.  When there is more than two possible outcomes to a situation, it is more difficult to make an astrological prediction. Typically, good transits point to a constructive resolution while bad transits coincide with tension, conflict and an ongoing state of frustration. But here we have at least four possible outcomes, each with its own pros and cons: no-deal Brexit, the postponement of Brexit (but only if the EU consents), fresh elections, or a second referendum.

From the UK's 1801 horoscope, we can clearly see the source of the current political stalemate in the UK.  Rahu (North Lunar Node) is conjunct the 10th house Moon, symbolizing the affairs of government as it pertains to the people.  Rahu is often a disruptive influence, and it does not combine well with the Moon.  This can produce uncertainty and emotional upset as well as an absence of order.  We can also see that Saturn and Pluto are opposing the Moon so that only makes the governing more difficult.  Saturn-Moon oppositions represent times of heaviness from worldly burdens that inflict lingering damage.  Pluto-Moon oppositions symbolize the coercive use of power without consent or respect.   These are all slow-moving aspects that will likely reflect more political difficulty in the months to come.  So that's point number one.

For today's failed vote, Mars is conjunct Mars (assertiveness, conflict) and Mercury is in a close 150 degree alignment with Saturn (unproductive work).   From across the ocean, it does seem as if the UK somehow has lost its ability to govern itself.  This Brexit drama has been going on for more than two years and seems to be far from resolution.

Wednesday's no-deal option seems unlikely to pass.  The transiting Moon-Jupiter alignment will aspect the natal Mercury (26 Scorpio) and this should allow for a measure of constructive compromise and positive outcomes.  Only a minority of the country (and Parliament) want a hard, no-deal Brexit so I wouldn't think this would be a likely outcome. 

However, there is an astrological argument for the "least worst" option of postponement of Brexit.  The delay vote is due on Thursday and will take place near the time when Venus is in a loose conjunction with natal Venus in sidereal Capricorn.  It's not really that close unfortunately, so I'm not highly confident that the delay option will carry the day.  But it does seem more likely than the hard Brexit option.  Late March and early April looks a bit better so we may see the EU agree to the delay of Article 50.  This would allow the UK to figure out its next move -- new negotiations, a new election or a new referendum. 

Whatever happens this week, I think the UK is still likely to have serious troubles over Brexit in the coming months.  I can see that the Saturn is due to station exactly on top of the natal Sun (19 Sagittarius) in August and September.  Since the Sun symbolizes government, this could well indicate an election and a likely change in government.  If there is an election during this period, Theresa May's Conservatives are likely to lose.  What a Labour government might mean for Brexit is anyone's guess.

Weekly Market Forecast

After last week's sharp sell-off, stocks have rebounded this week on expectation that the US-China trade deal may finally be near.   The Dow closed Tuesday at 25,554 while the S&P finished just under key resistance at 2791.  Indian stocks also moved higher as the Sensex closed Tuesday at 37,535.  This week's reversal was very much in keeping with expectations in last week's market forecast as I thought last week would likely see some significant declines given the retrograde Mercury alignment with Mars and Uranus. 

I also suggested that we would see a move higher this week on the alignment of the Sun with bullish Jupiter and Pluto.  That bullish energy has now manifested as Jupiter (28 Scorpio) aligned exactly with Pluto (28 Sagittarius) on Monday.  The Sun is within range now and will form an exact alignment on Wednesday. 

The rest of this week is harder to call.  I think the positive influence of the Jupiter-Pluto pairing is likely to see some residual effects, especially as Mercury retrograde backs into the alignment towards the end of the week.  This is a less reliable bullish factor but should nonetheless be seen as having a bullish bias.  We should sound a note of caution, however, due to the 120-degree Mars-Saturn alignment that is exact tomorrow (Wednesday). 

It is difficult to weigh the relative influence of these competing factors but I would say that the downside risk is elevated for Wednesday or perhaps into Thursday.  Futures are down a bit at the time of writing (11 pm EST), so we could see stocks under pressure on Wednesday.  But since the late week looks more positive, even a down day on Wednesday may not be enough to change the generally positive direction of the week as a whole. 

Next week may have a greater downside risk as Mercury and Venus align with Saturn early in the week, and then Mars aspects Jupiter in the second half of the week. 

For a more detailed analysis, please check out my weekly subscriber newsletter which is published every Saturday afternoon (EST).   I outline the key technical and planetary influences for US and Indian stocks, as well as currencies, gold and oil.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Mercury turns retrograde on Canada's Justin Trudeau

(4 March 2019)  It may be a good time to get your ducks in a row -- just in case.  Mercury, the planetary mischief-maker, is due to turn retrograde tomorrow, Tuesday, March 5.   Our solar system's innermost planet will station at 5 degrees of sidereal Pisces, and then begin its three-week backwards journey through the night sky.  It returns to normal forward motion on March 28 after stationing at 22 degrees of Aquarius. 

Mercury retrograde cycles have a bad reputation for bringing all manner of confusion, frustration and disruption to our normal routines.  Perhaps nobody knows this better than Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.   Actually, Trudeau has been on the defensive for the past month or so as his government is at the center of a corruption scandal that threatens to bring down his whole administration.   The opposition parties and many media pundits have been calling for a formal inquiry, and his resignation.

So far, two of his ministers have resigned, the Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould on February 12 and and today, Treasury Board President Jane Philpott also resigned citing a loss of confidence in the government from its poor handling of the scandal involving the Quebec-based construction company, SNC-Lavalin.

Not only does Mercury turns retrograde tomorrow, but it turns retrograde just one degree away from Trudeau's 8th house natal Mars.  Mars in the 8th house symbolizes conflict and troubles from that which is hidden and unknown.  The 8th house is often seen as the house of embarrassment and scandals, among other things.  Mercury retrograde periods can often bring snafus and headaches, but when Mercury stations on a malefic planet in the chart like Mars, there is a much greater likelihood that the problems will the significant.   Generally speaking, the period several days before and after the retrograde and direct stations are the most potent. 

We can see from Trudeau's horoscope that his troubles are not be confined to this single Mercury Rx factor.  The larger problem is that Saturn is aspecting his Moon (23 Pisces) by forward square aspect.  This may not be a full-strength Vedic aspect, but it is nonetheless close enough that it can inflict damage and do harm.  Saturn-Moon squares are usually times of personal difficulty, often marked by feelings of alienation, disappointment and loneliness.  Interestingly, Saturn (23 Sagittarius) is also forming a 135 degree angle with his Ascendant (10 Leo).  Saturn's slow velocity here suggests the twin alignments with the Moon and the Ascendant have been building for weeks.  Trudeau's political problems intensified on February 8 when the media discovered the SNC-Lavalin scandal and then on Feb 12 when the Justice minister resigned.   At that time, Saturn was at 21 Sagittarius, so just two degrees from an exact square with the Moon. 

The outlook for Justin Trudeau looks difficult for the next several weeks at least.  Tomorrow, his recently resigned and former closest aide, Gerald Butts, is due to testify before the Justice Committee.  With Mercury due to station Rx that day, it seems unlikely that the grim political optics can improve.  They may well get worse.

And with Saturn due to station retrograde on April 30th, it is hard to see Trudeau quickly putting this scandal behind him.  Saturn will station at 26 Sagittarius, just one degree from an exact 135 degree alignment.  (Parenthetically, I would note that US Democrat wunderkind Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may also suffer from this Saturn Rx station in April and May as it will exactly square her Sun at 26 Virgo.)   In fact, Saturn will be within range of his Ascendant and the Moon for most of the rest of 2019.  With an election upcoming on October 21, Trudeau will have an uphill battle for re-election.  And yet assuming he doesn't suddenly resign, I think his chances are good for re-election.  

Transiting Jupiter will be conjunct its natal position at 27 Scorpio at the time of the election so that is a positive factor.  Saturn will be three degrees away from its square with the Moon so that could relieve some of the negative pressure on him.  It's still close though and since Saturn will station one month before, it suggests a tense and onerous time for Trudeau. 

Uranus (10 Aries) will form a very constructive Grand Trine alignment with his Ascendant and Sun which should enhance his life outcomes.  Transiting Rahu will be deep in the 11th house of gains by that time so that is another plus.  Although Rahu has a chequered reputation, it does well in the 11th house and is often prominent during favourable events. 

And he will still be running the Moon-Mercury dasha period.  The Moon receives the aspect from Jupiter natally and by transit this year so that will offset some of the worst of Saturn's effects.  And Mercury rules his 11th house (Gemini) of gains and income and it is conjunct Jupiter in his 4th house.  Mercury should be a winning planet for him, even if it is not strong enough to prevent obstacles from emerging.  

I should say that Trudeau is likely to have a very stressful period in June when Mars and Saturn will both align with his Moon.  I wouldn't think this is enough to force him from office, but let's see what happens in the run-up to that alignment.  It does look like his life becomes significantly more difficult at that time, whatever the source.  So at this point, I would think Trudeau has a good chance to win re-election, even if his majority is reduced or he has to lead a minority government. 

Weekly Market Forecast

The approach of the Mercury retrograde period appeared to negatively impact investor sentiment today also as US stocks fell.   Last week, markets were fairly flat but the mood was still somewhat buoyant in growing anticipation of a US-China deal that could return global trade to the pre-Trumpian status quo ante.  It is unclear just when a deal will happen or what it will look like, however, as markets expressed some caution that any trade deal may not save the slowing economy.    Most of the economic data is weakening in the US, China and Europe and there is a rising risk of a recession this year or next year. 

Mercury turns retrograde on Tuesday but I am agnostic on whether that will be a decisive day.   More important is that Mercury will form a complex alignment with several planets through this week which could see further declines in the stock market.  Mercury (5 Pisces) will align closely with Uranus (5 Aries) and Chiron (5 Pisces) and also will form a 45 degree alignment with Mars at 20 Aries later in the week.  Wednesday and Thursday look arguably more bearish in this respect, as the the Sun and Neptune come under the aspect of Saturn and Moon conjoins Mercury on Thursday.

So as strong as this post-Christmas rebound has been, I think we will see a pause and pullback this week.   I'm less convinced this the start of a big decline that will revisit the December lows, however.   For example, next week looks more positive as Jupiter aligns with Pluto and the Sun.  The revisiting of the December lows will likely take much longer -- probably some weeks (or even months) after the Jupiter retrograde station on April 10.

For more details, please check out my weekly subscriber newsletter which is published every Saturday (EST).  I offer short and medium term analysis of US and Indian stocks, along with currencies, oil and gold. 

Friday, February 22, 2019

Jupiter (and Fed policy) drive gold price higher

(22 February 2019) With all the talk about the economy slowing down and the possibility of a recession, it may be a good time to reconsider gold.  As the Fed and other central banks shift their policies towards monetary easing, (i.e. lower interest rates, more asset purchases, holding higher amounts of debt on their balance sheets), gold may be in a better position to rise in value.  As central banks intervene by printing more money, the amount of debt increases.  This devalues the currency and thereby increases the risk of inflation.  Enter gold, as the safe haven and traditional store of value which acts as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement.

Gold has steadily risen over the past six months from a low of $1167 last August to a high this week of $1350.  Gold fell sharply on Thursday to $1327, however, but remains above its key support level of $1300.  Can gold continue to move higher or is it destined to slip back into its previous trading range?

There are several different astrological approaches we can use to forecast the future price of gold.  None is perfect, but each offers a window into the influences that underlie the main price patterns. As I have elaborated previously, there are at least three workable horoscopes for gold: 1) the GLD ETF launched in 2004; 2) the first trade of gold in the post-gold standard era in 1974; and 3) the London gold fix from 1919 which was the first globally recognized price.  All three are useful, but here I just want to focus on the 12 September 1919 chart.  I have often found this chart to reflect price fluctuations according to the relative influences of positive and negative planets. 

The current rally is quite clearly seen through the transit of Jupiter (26 Scorpio) and its exact 120 degree aspect to the Moon (26 Pisces).  It also forms a square alignment with the Sun and Venus (25-27 Leo).  While there are other layers to the gold price equation over the past six months, this is certainly important.  Jupiter is the most bullish planet and its exact alignments are frequently seen in up trends.  Interestingly, today's decline may also be seen in this chart as Mars (11 Aries) opposes the Ascendant (12 Libra).  Mars is often a malefic planet, and its opposition aspect, albeit brief, is even more bearish.  While these aspects do not work unfailingly, they definitely load the dice in a particular direction.

In the coming weeks, Jupiter is due to move a little past its alignments with the Moon and Sun-Venus but it will remain in close range.  This is likely to support prices and prevent a deep decline in the near term.  And it could also reflect further upside, although that may be a less decisive influence. 

But the transit chart itself can also provide important clues for future price direction.  A strong Jupiter influence is often bullish, especially when it combines with one of the slower moving planets -- Rahu, Ketu, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.  Jupiter stations also tend to be more bullish as Jupiter is moving very slowly for a period of weeks. 

Jupiter's retrograde station may well have a special bullish association with gold.  The retrograde station occurs once a year and marks the moment when Jupiter ceases its eight-month long forward movement and begins its four-month long backwards journey in the sky as seen from the Earth.   Gold's first famous historical peak of $850 in early January 1980 occurred just two weeks after a Jupiter retrograde station in Dec 1979.  And it's all-time high of $1920 in September 2011 took place just one week after its turned retrograde. 

Recently, the Jupiter Rx station and the Jupiter-Pluto alignments have been occurring close together.  In 2018, these three factors occurred within a four-month span.  This clustering happens because of the narrow degree difference between the Jupiter station and Pluto.  In 2019, this will occur within a narrower two-month time window.  Jupiter will align with Pluto on March 7th and then turn retrograde on April 10th.  Once it moves backwards, it will again align with Pluto in early May. 

Generally, the Jupiter Rx station and Jupiter-Pluto are bullish influences.  As the chart below suggests, they tend to occur during up trends or near tops. There are exceptions, of course, since the impact of the key natal horoscopes (e.g. London 1919) also play a role in shaping the direction of prices.  But I would think the prospects for gold are fairly bullish in the coming weeks due to these Jupiter influences.  And it is possible we could see the formation of an interim top from March to May, as was the case in 2018. 

In any event, a reversal lower is probably more likely in the weeks after the Jupiter Rx station on April 10th since Saturn will become more prominent after that date as it conjoins Ketu (South Lunar Node) and Pluto.  Whether the up trend can continue into May and the final Jupiter-Pluto alignment in this series is a more complex question. 

Weekly Market Forecast

US stocks are remained stubbornly high so far this month as the Trump administration continues to dangle the carrot of an imminent China trade deal.  Indian stocks have been weaker with election uncertainty and concerns about slowing growth.  While I have been generally bullish about early 2019, I would have thought we would see more downside this month, particularly in the US. 

Next week (Feb 25-Mar 1) does contain some potentially tense alignments so perhaps we will finally see some selling.  The Venus-Ketu conjunction early in the week is a possible indicator of trouble, although I would not say it is exactly bankable. Rahu and Ketu are more unpredictable in their effects so we could easily see stocks rise in the early going.  The mid and late week conjunction with the Node of Saturn is more clearly troublesome and should coincide with at least one significant down day. 

For more details, please check out my weekly subscriber newsletter which is published every Saturday (EST).  I offer short and medium term analysis of US and Indian stocks, along with currencies, oil and gold. 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Markets tread water ahead of possible second US shutdown

(11 February 2019) The dysfunction of the US government is again on display this week with the approach of another shutdown deadline.  As before, the sticking point is funding for Trump's border wall with Mexico.  With the current three-week emergency funding measure winding down, talks have broken off between an increasingly defensive GOP and a more emboldened Democratic Party.  The deadline for a deal is Friday the 15th at midnight.

A quick look at President Trump's horoscope shows that his position is unlikely to improve this week.  Mars is conjunct Uranus in the 9th house indicating trouble and sudden conflict involving legal bodies (Congress!) and perhaps foreign countries and their governments.  Moreover, the conjunction occurs at 5-6 degrees of Aries which aligns exactly with his Ascendant at 6 Leo.  The planets indicate this is a moment of very intense conflict.  By itself, it does not reveal if he is more likely to win or lose this battle. 

But other planetary positions look more difficult.  The Sun in early sidereal Aquarius is opposite his Ascendant and Mars this week.  This is reflective of conflict and often suggests frustrating situations when conflicts get out of hand or turn against you. 

The other obviously negative alignment here is the Venus-Saturn conjunction in Sagittarius in his 5th house.  This forms a near-exact 135 degree angle with his Ascendant.  While this is not a standard full-strength Vedic aspect, it nonetheless delivers an impact.  The Venus-Saturn combination suggests losses and unhappiness, as if Trump is more likely to be suffering this week.  This is not a transit alignment of a winner. 

Now, there is one ray of hope for Trump.   Transiting Jupiter is approaching its conjunction with his Moon-Ketu conjunction.  It's still a few degrees away so it may not have reached its full potential.  But this Jupiter influence is likely to manifest positively in his life in some meaningful way.  I suspect it is too soon to reflect any success in the border wall shutdown fight with the Democrats.  But it could mean that his fortunes improve over the next few weeks.  Moreover, Jupiter is due to station at 0 Sagittarius in early April which will be in fairly close alignment with his Sun at 29 Taurus.

This is not to say that Trump will suddenly be riding high in the polls or anything like that.  Transiting Rahu will still be conjunct his Venus-Saturn conjunction in early Cancer through March and April and that is likely to exert a drag on him.  But the Jupiter influence does look noteworthy and will likely temper some of the gathering gloom around his failing presidency.  

I still think the worst is yet to come for Trump from the twin effects of the Saturn-Ketu conjunction in May-June and then the Saturn direct station in September.   Resignation is a distinctly possible outcome in 2019. 

Weekly Market Forecast

Markets have been largely immune to the prospect of another shutdown as markets have tread water over the past several sessions.  I had previously thought we might have seen more of a pullback by now given the placement of Saturn near 20-24 degrees of Sagittarius.  This is a potentially bearish zone in the horoscope of the New York Stock Exchange which has often correlated with declines. 

Saturn is still transiting across that zone so it is very possible we could see some kind of pullback in the days ahead.  This is perhaps not unexpected given the technical condition of the major US indexes near their 200-day moving averages.  Typically, rebounds to this level are often followed by pullbacks.  In bear markets such as 2000 and 2008, these touches of the 200-day moving average were followed by even larger declines to lower lows.  At present, investors are weighing the relative odds of stocks resuming their 4th quarter swan dive or recovering to make higher highs. 

As I have previously written, there is good reason to expect another major decline in the months ahead.  But the approaching Jupiter retrograde station on April 10th looks quite bullish since it will reverse its motion at 0 degrees of Sagittarius -- prime real estate for Jupiter.  Sagittarius is a sign ruled by Jupiter and that pattern could be more positive than would otherwise by the case.  That said, Jupiter's station does not form any close alignments with the NYSE chart so that could limit the potential upside somewhat.  But the bottom line here is that despite any February pullbacks we could see, stocks may well go higher before they eventually go lower in Q2.

For a more detailed analysis, feel free to check out my weekly newsletter which is published every Saturday afternoon (EST).  It covers US and Indian markets, as well as currencies, oil and gold. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

After shutdown defeat, Trump prepares for SOTU on February 5

(29 January 2019) The chaotic presidency of Donald Trump has now entered its third, and possibly final, year.  Last week, the US government shutdown was finally resolved after Trump caved and agreed to a temporary three-week stopgap spending bill.  It's anyone's guess what happens on February 15 when the bill expires as Trump has vowed to build his controversial border wall one way or another.  Another shutdown is possible, or Trump may declare a state of emergency to override the Democrats' opposition. 

Before that, Trump will give his State of the Union address (SOTU) before Congress on Tuesday, February 5.  It promises to be a moment of high political theater as Trump confronts what is likely to be a hostile, Democrat-controlled House.  The planets suggest the SOTU will be a contentious affair as Mars will be prominent in the first degree of sidereal Aries.  Whenever Mars enters a new sign it often gets a shot of additional energy and this is especially the case here in the fiery sign of Aries.  Aggressiveness, assertiveness and conflict are more likely to be manifest at this time through the Mars influence. 

In addition, Mars will be approaching a very unstable alignment with Uranus and Rahu (North Lunar Node) during that first full week of February.  Mars' conflictive and assertive energy often combines unpredictably with Rahu, which itself symbolizes disruption and breaking with the status quo.  Uranus similarly reflects shock and surprises and greatly amps up the energetic potential at the time of Trump's SOTU address. 

It is worth noting that all this intense and unstable energy appears to be magnified when we overlay it onto the USA natal horoscope.  The Mars-Uranus conjunction will be at the bottom of the chart conjunct the IC (opposite the MC) and forming a square with Rahu and natal Mercury (3 Cancer).  

The conflictive nature of Mars-Uranus is intensified by its placement near an angle (IC-MC) and its alignment with Mercury heightens the risks to a range of things including the stock market, communication, and even the government itself since Mercury rules the 10th house (Virgo).  In other words, the planets are clearly pointing to difficulties and frustration for the US in early February, and that includes a fractured SOTU. 

The other thing about the planets at the time of the SOTU is that the Sun (22 Capricorn) will align with Saturn (21 Sagittarius) and both will align with the natal Sun (22 Gemini) in the USA chart.  This is another clue that the government and presidency (Sun) will be under the weight of Saturn in terms of criticism, scrutiny and lack of respect.  The divisiveness of US politics will be clearly demonstrated at this time with Trump likely bearing the brunt of it.  More Mueller indictments and revelations are also possible during this time period. 

Trump's personal horoscope will also feel the Mars-Uranus-Rahu alignment since Mars (0 Aries) will exactly square his 12th house Saturn at 0 Cancer.  Not only will the SOTU likely be contentious, but Trump's planets are not good at this time so he is likely to come out of it more bruised and weaker than he already is.  

Weekly Market Forecast

The affliction of the USA's Mercury next week (Feb 4-8) is likely to correspond with some declines in the stock market.  The Mars-Rahu-Uranus alignment greatly increases the probability of some nervous selling in any event, and the Mercury involvement ratchets that up the risk even higher.  This week may be less dramatic but still hints at some market weakness as Mercury and the Sun align with Saturn and Neptune later in the week.  As I have noted previously, Saturn's transit of 20 degrees of any sign increases downside risk and its alignment with Neptune is definitely not a plus.

Given US stocks are near technical resistance, the planets buttress the widespread expectation that we will see some kind of pullback later this week and beyond.  Jay Powell is due to issue the Fed's latest statement tomorrow so that could well move markets.  Thus far, Powell has often had a negative impact on markets on the days he speaks as part of the FOMC meeting and press conference.  I suspect Wednesday and the days following may well adhere to that pattern. 

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