Monday, June 27, 2016

Markets plunge as UK votes to Brexit

(27 June 2016) Global financial markets are reeling for a second straight session following the surprising Brexit outcome in last week's UK referendum.  The choice to leave the EU shocked markets which had pushed up stock prices ahead of the vote on the expectation that the Remain side would prevail.  The Brexit vote defeat compelled Prime Minister David Cameron to tender his resignation effective within three months. 

The Leave victory was in keeping with my expectation for increased level of sudden or shocking events in late June due to two very tense planetary placements.  As I had written back in February when the EU referendum date was first announced, the fact that the vote would be held on the very same day that Uranus entered the sign of sidereal Aries greatly increased the likelihood for a Leave win.  Uranus is the planet associated with notions of independence, freedom and rebellion and when it changes signs once every 7 years, it often correlates with events which exhibit these qualities.  The fact that the Uranus sign change would be happening just a week before Mars stationed direct and formed a close alignment with Uranus only added to the level of instability and potential for shocking outcomes. 

My analyses of several key charts also seemed to support the notion that the UK would vote to Leave.  The EU Maastricht Treaty chart (1993) is very afflicted and indicates that a very disturbing and injurious event to the EU would be taking place.  David Cameron's own horoscope also looked quite troubled, as did the UK national horoscope

The murder of Labour MP Jo Cox a week before the referendum was also an expression of this volatile Mars-Uranus energy.  I even wondered if it might 'burn off' enough of this negative energy that a Leave vote might not actually happen.  I had my doubts, especially when the polls looked like they were moving towards Remain.  But I nonetheless expected more manifestation of this significant Uranus and Mars energy around the time of the vote itself.   The Leave victory was an clear expression of this dominant planetary symbolism.

The British Pound has lost 12% of its value since Friday and is now trading at $1.31, its lowest level since 1985. The London FTSE index is down 8% as investors cut their exposure in an uncertain political and economic climate.  We can see this decline in the horoscope of the FTSE 100 Index (3 January 1984).  The critical transits here are likely Saturn (17 Scorpio) in the 12th house of loss conjunct Ketu (22 Scorpio) and in a near-30 degree alignment with the Ascendant (15 Sagittarius) and the Sun and Moon at 18/19 Sagittarius.  Transiting Ketu (21 Aquarius) is also closely aspecting Saturn (20 Libra) during this late June and early July time window.  Ketu-Saturn transits are often bad for stocks.  

Saturn is retrograde throughout July so that could be a drag on UK stocks as it remains more or less stuck in the middle of the 12th house of loss. I would think it is likely that the FTSE will fall further in the days ahead.

Weekly Market Update

Stocks fell across the world last week following the Brexit vote.  After rising for most of the week, US stocks ended more than 1% lower on the week after Friday's plunge.  The Dow ended the week at 17,400.  Indian stocks also lost ground as the Sensex ended 1% lower to 26,397.  This bearish outcome was in line with expectations as I noted in last week's market forecast that we could get some gains in the first part of the week but the late week looked bad given the entry of Uranus into Aries on Brexit day.

US and European stocks are now sharply lower in Monday trading.  This extended decline is also not surprising as I had expected more downside this week ahead of the Mars station at 29 Libra on Wednesday and Thursday.  I suspect we could fall further  this week as the full impact of this Mars-Uranus alignment is felt.  The late week could see some gains, however, as Venus aligns with Pluto and Jupiter. 

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, June 21, 2016

UK Brexit referendum: A shocking Uranian turn of events

(21 June 2016)  All eyes are on the UK this week ahead of Thursday's historic referendum on EU membership.  The Leave side had pulled last week ahead in most polls last week until the shocking murder of pro-EU Labour MP Jo Cox.  Cox was gunned down early in the afternoon on Thursday, 16th June by a mentally ill pro-Brexit constituent.  Stocks began to rally soon thereafter as investors sensed a shift in momentum.  Indeed, sympathy for Cox has spilled over into a significant boost for the Remain side in recent days and the most polls now show Remain slightly ahead of Leave.

As I have noted previously about the Brexit scenario, the end of June was likely to be an unstable and eventful period given the entry of Uranus into sidereal Aries.  Uranus is a planet of sudden and shocking events that are often marked by a desire for freedom, independence or even rebellion. Since Uranus only changes signs once every 7 years, this is a phenomenon not to be taken lightly.  Previous sign ingresses of Uranus have an impressive track record.  The October 1987 ingress of Uranus into Sagittarius coincided with the biggest one-day stock market crash in history.  The crash occurred just two days after the sign change of Uranus according to Krishnamurthi ayanamsha.  The April 1933 referendum for independence by Western Australia took place just four days after the entry of Uranus into -- you guessed it -- sidereal Aries.  Uranus completes its revolution around the Sun every 83-84 years.

As an added wrinkle to this unstable Uranian influence, it also forms a close alignment with retrograde Mars, which is now at 29 degrees of Libra.  Mars is due to station direct on 29th June and may provide an added dimension of violence.   This is not a Mars-Uranus aspect by standard Vedic rules (150 degrees rather than the 210 degrees (8th house aspect), but it is rather an near-exact alignment.  Not quite as powerful, but nonetheless noteworthy. 

The transit overlay of the tragic murder chart to the UK national chart shows how both transiting and natal Mars (violence) were activated.   Transiting Mars and Uranus are closely aligned with the natal Moon at 28 Gemini within two degrees.  Transiting Moon was almost directly opposite natal Mars (20 Libra).  Of course, both Jupiter and Rahu were in close alignment with natal Mars and will continue to do so until early July.  This suggests the UK will remain a tense and volatile place for some days after the referendum.

For several months now, I had been looking at this very tense and difficult Mars-Uranus pairing in late June and assumed it would likely translate into the UK voting to leave the EU.  The fact that Uranus was at maximum strength as it changed signs on the same day as the referendum was just too perfect to ignore.  There are no guarantees in astrology (or in life for that matter), but it seemed karmically determined to play out in the form of a Brexit as the British people would cast a vote for their sovereignty from Brussels and ignore any economic consequences of leaving the EU. 

However, one of the inherent limitations of astrology is that it operates primarily on a symbolic level.  There are no given set of actual outcomes from particular planetary placements.  All placements must therefore be interpreted.   Planetary symbolism therefore must also make the leap from the subjective realm of collective energy (as much as I wince when I hear that term) to an objective form that manifests as actual human events. 

When I wrote about the upcoming strong Uranian influence on the possible Brexit vote, I noted that it was also conceivable that somehow the UK might choose to stay in the EU but the process underlying the vote would be very intense and unstable.  That seems to be the case already as the murder of Jo Cox has stunned the nation and almost made the vote into an anti-climax.  In that sense, the murder of the Jo Cox is very much a reflection of the dominant planets Uranus (sudden events) and Mars (violence).  Or violence (Mars) resulting from a desire for independence (Uranus).   I  had thought that this Uranus and Mars combination would manifest more at a collective level as the voters would choose to abruptly or even violently (Mars) sever ties with Europe in a desire to assert their independence from EU bureaucrats. 

But it now seems that a Brexit is unlikely given the most recent polls.  The manifestation of some of that Uranus and Mars karmic energy means there is now less of it left to take the UK out of Europe.  I believe there is still plenty of this destabilizing energy left in the coming days, but I'm less sure the UK will actually vote to Leave.  Betting markets now put the odds of a Brexit closer to just 20% instead of the 40+% of last week.  I would think the ongoing Uranus influence here means the chances are actually somewhat higher.  But if some of the Uranus and Mars karmic energy has been "burned off" with the murder of Jo Cox, there is less of it left for voting day.  I would not be surprised if the UK actually voted to remain now.  Nonetheless, I feel that Uranus still has more of its karmic payload to deliver, whether it happens in Thursday's vote or indeed in the Spanish elections on Sunday that could remove the pro-EU party from power. 

Weekly Market Forecast

Global stocks bounced early this week after the Remain side showed renewed strength in weekend polls.   Stocks had generally been negative last week as expected as Brexit worries weighed on sentiment.  In last week's market forecast, I thought the Mars aspect to Venus and the Sun early in the week would be bearish and this was largely the case.  Not surprisingly, we saw some gains around Wednesday's Fed meeting.  The Dow ended Monday at 17,804 and is modestly higher in early Tuesday trading at the time of writing.  Indian stocks did not partake much in this week's relief rally due to the surprising resignation announcement of respected RBI Governor Rajan.  The Sensex closed Tuesday at a middling 26,812.

The planets this week could bring a little more upside midweek as Mercury aligns with Jupiter and Rahu on Wednesday.  But the downside risk may grow in the late week as Uranus enters Aries on Thursday.  Next week also looks problematic as Mars stations direct late in the week.  This is likely to amp up the instability in global markets as the apparent energy of the Mars-Uranus alignment approaches its apex.

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, June 13, 2016

ISIS terror attack in Orlando shocks US

(13 June 2016)  ISIS has claimed responsibility for the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that claimed the lives of 50 people.  The US-born Omar Mateen declared his allegiance to the radical Islamist terror organization in a 911 call just before opening fire on innocent club goers in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12.  It was the biggest mass shooting in US history and was the second ISIS terrorist attack in as many years on US soil after the San Bernardino attack which killed 14 people.  The Orlando shooting was likely a lone wolf attack by an ISIS-inspired sympathizer and may well have marked a new phase in America's ongoing struggle with radical Islamic terrorism.   

While the attack has spawned a fierce political debate in the US about intermingling of radical Islam, inadequate gun control and homophobia, the astrological perspective provides clear confirmation of the influence of Mars, especially as it approaches its alignment with Uranus at the end of June.  Mars is currently retrograde in the first degree of sidereal Scorpio.  It is now moving very slowly and is due to station direct at 29 Libra on June 29th. As a rule, the slower the planet, the stronger it becomes.  Mars is the planet of violence and conflict, of course, so it is not surprising that we should see these kinds outbreaks of violence around the time of its station in late June. 

But fiery Mars is doubly volatile and dangerous because it is forming an exact 150 degree alignment with the planet Uranus. Uranus is associated with intense energy, sudden events and rebelliousness.  As I have noted in previous posts, the upcoming Mars-Uranus alignment in late June is one reason why the UK will likely vote to leave the European Union.  When they are in close alignment, Mars and Uranus coincide with situations and events that are unstable, unpredictable and disruptive of the status quo. 

We can see how this Mars-Uranus alignment manifested in the horoscope of the shooter, Omar Mateen, born November 16, 1986.   Although we don't know his time of birth, we can see that he was born with a close t-square of the Sun, Moon, and Mars.  The exact position of the Moon is unknown in early Taurus (or late Aries) but it is likely well within range of his Mars at 0 Aquarius.  He was certainly born with a near exact square of the Sun and Mars, albeit one that does not adhere to standard Vedic aspects.  Nonetheless, it was exact enough that even a partial strength aspect would have manifested as a person with a very strong and assertive ego (Sun-Mars) and a desire to take action. 

His mental condition was likely reflected by the Mars aspect to the Moon, which is the planet most tied to the emotions and mental health. The Sun-Mars-Moon alignment therefore paints a picture of a person with a lot of energy but also a lot of anger.  Early evidence supports this view that he was an angry person who beat his wife and harbored hateful thoughts towards others who were different.

At the time of the shooting, Mars (1 Scorpio) was exactly conjunct his natal Sun (0 Scorpio) and hence also exactly squared his natal Mars (0 Aquarius) and opposed his natal Moon in early Taurus. Uranus (29 Pisces) was also in a tight degreewise alignment with Mateen's fiery natal planetary alignment.  As an added burden, Mateen was undergoing his Saturn Return as Saturn (18 Scorpio) was retrograding towards a conjunction with its natal position at 16 Scorpio.  Saturn Returns can come at a time when normal progress is blocked and individuals are forced to seek new paths for the future. 

Perhaps most compelling of all, however, is that the national horoscope of the USA is also under heavy Mars affliction.  The transiting Mars (1 Scorpio) exactly aspects the natal Mars (0 Gemini) with its full strength 8th-house (quincunx) aspect.  The cruel effects of this aspect would most likely be amplified by: 1) the fact that Mars is moving slowly and is approaching its direct station and 2) its larger alignment with Uranus (29 Pisces).  While Uranus is not in aspect using standard Vedic rules, I have found that anytime more than one planet is in such a tight degreewise alignment (usually in multiples of 15 or 30 degrees), there will be heightened effects.  It is therefore not surprising that the US should have come under another terrorist attack at a time when its natal Mars is in alignment with a stationary Mars.  That is certainly a recipe for violence and war. 

And as an added planetary trigger, transiting Venus (29 Taurus) and the Sun (27 Taurus) were coming right up to conjoin with the natal Mars at the time of the attack. Transiting Saturn (18 Scorpio) is also exactly opposite natal Uranus (18 Taurus). That may be seen  as a cosmic signature for suffering (Saturn) that arises from sudden events (Uranus).

It is conceivable that we could even see more attacks and violent incidents are possible during this time that Mars is near its station.  This period of heightened terrorist risk likely extends into early July when Mars has returned to direct motion and thereby again forms an exact 8th house quincunx aspect to the natal Mars.  More broadly, this time of the Mars-Uranus alignment looks difficult with sudden and conflictive events more likely.   I have previously written how the horoscope of GOP nominee Donald Trump looks especially afflicted by this Mars-Uranus alignment. 

Weekly Market Forecast

Stock markets have been generally weaker in the past week as fears of a Brexit has compelled some investors to seek safety of bonds and gold.   US markets were somewhat mixed last week and are tilting negative thus far in Monday trading.  Asian markets moved lower last week and here on Monday also as Indian shares followed the global Brexit sell-off.  This outcome was more or less in keeping with last week's market forecast where I though that the early week would see gains on the Sun-Venus-Jupiter-Rahu alignment but that selling was more likely later in the week on the Mercury-Mars opposition. 

This week looks more negative as Mars aspects both Venus and then the Sun into midweek.  This Mars influence will make it harder for stocks to rise and I would think it will translate into more downside beyond Monday's across the board decline.  While we could see some upside around Wednesday's Fed meeting as the Moon aligns with bullish Venus, the late week looks problematic.  Friday's Moon-Mars conjunction in particular could increase volatility. 

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, June 7, 2016

UK polls now show slim lead for Brexit side in EU referendum

(7 June 2016) The UK appears to be inching closer to doing the unthinkable as weekend polls showed the Leave side gaining a slight edge for the first time since the campaign began.  The UK is due to hold a referendum on its EU membership on June 23rd.   Political betting markets are still indicating that a "Brexit" is the less likely outcome although the odds for the Leave side have risen somewhat recently and are now approaching 30%. 

As I posted several months ago, the planetary alignments offer strong astrological evidence for Brexit.  As I noted back in February, several of the relevant horoscopes showed considerable instability in June.  The referendum day transits alone were likely enough to make a case for a Leave vote since Uranus was changing sidereal signs into Aries on the very day of the vote. Uranus is the planet of sudden change, independence and often rebelliousness.   When it changes signs every 7 years, there is usually some symbolically equivalent event which reflects its unstable energy within days of its sign change or ingress. (N.B.  I am using the Krishnamurti ayanamsha although occurs only a couple of days alter using Lahiri.)  It seems more than just coincidence that the UK would be holding this referendum on the same day that this Uranian energy is peaking. 

The vote is still two weeks away, but the momentum appears to be shifting towards the Leave side.  Polls can be unreliable, however, and with the betting markets still expecting the Remain side to win, there would have to be more movement towards the Brexit camp.  Interestingly, the UK national horoscope (1 January 1801, midnight) also provides good evidence that the Leave side is more likely to win, or at very least create the conditions for significant instability.

There are a few key alignments here.  The most obvious to me is the Jupiter-Rahu conjunction at 21-22 Leo and its combined aspect to the natal Mars at 20 Aries.  Mars represents action and its placement in the 8th house implies change, death/life and even rebirth. Jupiter stationed direct exactly in aspect to the Mars back in May but it is now moving away.  A Jupiter-Mars aspect may symbolize an initiating and courageous action but usually within a balanced context.  If Rahu was not involved in this alignment, the evidence for voting to Leave the EU would be weaker. 

But Rahu often brings boldness and even recklessless.  There is a desire to break with the status quo with Rahu as it seeks novelty over tradition.   Rahu perhaps represents 'change at all costs'.  Despite the warnings of various bankers, economists and UK corporate leaders that there will be a significant price to be paid if Britain leaves the EU, many people are tuning out these calls for prudence from the elite. And it is worth noting that Rahu will be closer to an exact aspect to Mars than Jupiter as it is approaching its 120 degree aspect while Jupiter is now separating.  The disruptive influence of Rahu will therefore have the upper hand over Jupiter's inherent preference for balanced or 'right' action.

The transit of Mars also adds to the overall picture of intense debate and conflict.  Mars (29 Libra) will station direct a week after the vote and will therefore form a close alignment (119 degree) with the natal Moon (28 Gemini).  This is not a full strength Mars aspect according to Vedic rules, but it nonetheless is a partial strength aspect which is close enough to exact to add to the overall tension. 

Transiting Saturn (17 Scorpio) is sitting on the equal 3rd house cusp (16 Scorpio) and will station direct very close to the cusp in August at 15 Scorpio.  That is a negative influence and may reflect the negative financial fallout of circumstances surrounding the referendum.  Many economists including Bank of England chief Mark Carney have warned of dire economic consquences if Britain leaves Europe.  This Saturn station on the 3rd house -- and therefore aspecting the 12th house of loss through its forward square aspect -- may well reflect a summer of pessimism and declining economic activity in the UK. 

And on the day of the referendum, Mercury (23 Taurus), representing communication and thinking, will be in an exact alignment with natal Ketu (23 Virgo) which symbolizes unexpected or unconventional situations.  While it is possible this could reflect confusion at the polls or difficulty in tallying the vote, it may simply reflect the surprising nature of the outcome.  Again, this alignment would appear to support a Leave campaign win. 

It's still possible that these various indications may only signify tension and rising anxiety over the vote rather than the outcome itself.  Even a close vote to Remain could be seen as divisive and weakening the strength of the EU going forward.  And yet, given the afflictions presents in these charts, I would be surprised if somehow the UK voted to stay in the EU.

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks moved mostly higher last week as last week's disappointing US jobs report took the prospect of a June Fed rate hike off the table.  This disproportionately benefited emerging markets such as India as a lower Dollar ensured that more foreign institutional investors would raise their overseas exposure. 

Markets are somewhat stronger here than I had expected, although most stocks remain below their 2015 highs.  Monday's upside was correlated with the Sun-Venus conjunction at 22 Taurus.  This created a broad degreewise alignment with Jupiter (21 Leo) and Rahu (22 Leo) as well as Pluto (22 Sagittarius).   This was clearly a positive planetary influence that predicted early week upside.  As the faster-moving planet, Venus will overtake the Sun today (Tuesday) and so we may see a lessening of optimism as the week progresses.  In addition, I would think that the Mercury-Mars opposition in the second half of the week could correspond to some significant downside across many markets. 

And just to to be clear, if the UK does vote to leave the EU, then this should be negative for stocks worldwide.  Certainly, the Mars-Uranus alignment in late June -- along with the Uranus ingress --  looks sufficiently volatile to produce some turbulence.  Therefore, the probability will rise that this current rally that has prevailed in most markets since February will run into some trouble. 

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 includes discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Gold tumbles $22 on possible June rate hike

. (24 May 2016) The price of gold tumbled today as investors considered the possibility of an early Fed rate hike in June following strong housing data.  Higher interest rates boost the US Dollar and thereby make gold less attractive as an asset.  Higher interest rates are believed to reduce inflationary pressures and this is bad news for gold since it is seen as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement.  Gold fell almost 2% today closing at $1227. 

This sharp decline in gold was in keeping with the basic principles of financial astrology.  Financial astrology holds that assets rise or fall in value according to specific alignments of the planets.  Benefic planets like Venus, Mercury and Jupiter are said to coincide with gains while malefic planets like Saturn, Mars and the Nodes (Rahu and Ketu) tend to correlate with declines. 

I have observed that gold prices tend to vary according to the geometric situation of the planets Venus, Jupiter and the Sun.  When all three of these planets are strong by transit and without affliction from malefic planets, gold will tend to rise in value.  When malefics are more closely aspecting one, two or all three of these key planets, gold tends to struggle.  Saturn also tends to depress prices when it forms close alignments with slowing moving planets such as the Nodes (Rahu/Ketu) and the Outers.  The key natal charts for gold also play a role, of course, but the transits are an important reference point for understanding gold price fluctuations.

Today, Venus (6 Taurus) was closely opposed by Mars (7 Taurus).   The Sun (9 Taurus) had also just recently passed an exact opposition with Mars late last week which had also coincided with a more modest decline. 

Jupiter (19 Leo) forms a close 90 degree square aspect with Saturn (19 Scorpio) this week.  Since both planets move slowly (just a few minutes of arc per day), this 90 degree angle is in place for most of this week.   Therefore, we can see that all three key planetary significators for gold (Sun, Venus, Jupiter) were aligned with malefic planets this week.  This is one very important reason why I predicted a price decline for gold in this week's MVA Investor Newsletter.   With all three planets involved, I suggested a decline was a higher probability outcome at this time.

I have been fairly bearish on gold since March when Jupiter and Rahu (North Lunar Node) aligned with some key planets in the 1919 gold natal horoscope.  While gold has managed to hold above the key $1200 level since that time, it seems more vulnerable to declines going forward as Saturn becomes more dominant in the coming weeks and months.  The next acid test for gold may come next week on June 2nd and 3rd when both Venus and the Sun oppose Saturn and square Jupiter.  The Jupiter influence makes this a more complex alignment with less certain outcomes.  However, the presence of Saturn would seem to be quite bearish. 

Weekly Market Forecast

After being mostly flat last week, US stocks have moved somewhat higher in the early week here.  The Dow rose more than 1% today closing at 17,706.  India's Sensex slipped a bit last week but seems to have found its footing thus far this week closing modestly higher at 25,305 in the Tuesday session.  In last week's market forecast, I thought that further gains were unlikely last week as the late week Sun-Mars opposition was likely to coincide with declines.  This was more or less the case as stocks fell after rising in the early going. 

The rest of this week looks somewhat less positive.  In particular, Friday's Moon-Saturn aspect could coincide with some pessimism which may undermine any preceding gains.  While a mixed week is possible, the Saturn-Jupiter square aspect argues for caution and prudence.

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 includes discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Mars and the ghost of 1937: the NYSE Solar Return chart

(17 May 2016) Today is a day of special significance in financial astrology as the New York Stock Exchange turns 224 years old.  The NYSE was founded on May 17, 1792, most likely around 10 a.m., although the exact time of its origin is a matter of some debate.  The birthday of the world's biggest and most venerable stock exchange provides a valuable window on the financial outlook for next 12 months. According to the basic principles of astrology, the return of the Sun to its position at the time of birth is said to contain clues for what may happen in the coming year.  This idea holds true for both individuals and collective entities such as the NYSE.  It is also worth noting that due to the procession of the equinoxes, the Sun does not actually return to its natal position of 6 degrees of sidereal Taurus until May 20th. 

The financial significance of the Solar Return or Vashphal chart emerges when it is overlaid with the natal chart.  Significant planetary placements and alignments determine if gains or losses are more likely in the coming year by the next birthday on 17 May 2017.  The core principle of financial astrology is that if malefic planets like Mars and Saturn form closer alignments then declines are more likely whereas benefic planet alignments will tend to produce gains.  Precedence is usually granted to the Moon, Sun and Ascendant in this regard so that the planetary alignments involving these points will have a larger influence on the final outcome.

At the time of last year's NYSE birthday, I suggested that US stocks were likely to decline in the subsequent 12 months since Saturn was very closely aligned with the Sun by 90-degree square aspect.

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

Stocks have indeed declined in the intervening 12-month period since May 17, 2015.  The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average has only fallen 3% since that time, although the broader and arguably more representative NYSE Composite Index is down 8% since last May.  Interestingly, the NYSE Composite peaked that very month and has been trending lower ever since, albeit with much deeper declines in August of last year and January-February this year.  It looks like Saturn had the final say there.

This year's Solar Return (SR) chart looks challenging again.  Like last year's chart, however, there are some positive alignments.  Venus (1 Taurus) is conjunct natal Mercury (2 Taurus).  This is quite a good pairing as both planets are considered benefic.  But Venus and Mercury tend to be lesser factors in shaping the overall outcome.  Since we have many planets across two charts, the number of possible aspects and alignments quickly multiply and become unwieldy for analytical purposes.  In my experience, alignments involving the Sun and Moon may take precedence.  We should omit consideration of the Ascendant here since the exact birth time of the NYSE is uncertain. 

Uranus (28 Pisces) is exactly conjunct the Moon in this year's SR chart.  Uranus often coincides with intensity, unpredictability and sudden changes.  This Uranus-Moon conjunction suggests this coming year will feature a significant amount of big moves in the markets -- even in both directions -- as the Uranus influence is actually neutral. By itself, it is not necessarily correlated with gains or declines.  The Uranus influence here does suggest that  the stock market may be in the news more than usual. 

This theme of unpredictability and even instability is echoed in the SR chart as the Moon (27 Libra) is closely aspected by Ketu (25 Aquarius).  Ketu has a similar effect as Uranus in that it disrupts the status quo and undermines fixed structures. 

The more difficult alignment here is that retrograde Mars (8 Scorpio) is in a close opposition aspect with the Sun (6 Taurus).  This is a negative influence which may well cast the deciding planetary vote for this chart.  True, we don't know if there may be offsetting positive influences on the Ascendant (e.g. a Jupiter conjunction).  But based on this Solar Return chart, I would the US stock market is likely to decline over the next 12 months.  Given the global dominance of the NYSE, this augurs poorly for most world stock markets also. 

The last time Mars was in a similar location in Scorpio opposite the Sun at the time of the May 17th Solar Return was in 1937.  Mars was also retrograde at 5 degrees of Scorpio that year on May 20th -- including the three-day correction for procession.  1937 is a well-known year in stock market history since it marked the first major bear market since the Depression in the early 1930s.  The markets had bottomed in 1932 and had been recovering fairly well for several years. 

But that all changed in 1937 as stocks peaked in February and then fell through the rest of the year.  In May 1937, the Dow stood at 175 and would eventually bottom in March 1938 near 100.  By May 1938 at the time of the next NYSE Solar Return, it had only slightly recovered to 110.  The stock market had declined 35% during that May-to-May SR period.  While we could make an argument for the importance of other factors in that 1937 SR chart, the Mars placement does stand out as the most obviously bearish. 

History may not necessarily repeat itself during this next SR but the placement of Mars just a few degrees away from its fateful placement in May 1937 is a possible warning of increased risk of declines.

Weekly Market Forecast

After slipping a bit last week, stocks recovered their footing Monday.  The Dow finished at 17,710 while India's Sensex posted a modest gain to move above 25,600. It is up again in early trading in the Tuesday session.  In last week's market forecast, I had expected fairly choppy trading given the mix of aspects through last week.   I thought we might have seen a little more late week upside last week although those gains appear to have manifested early this week so far. 

As the Sun enters Taurus this week and therefore sets up its opposition to Mars (!) and eventually Saturn, I would be surprised if stocks rose much further this week.  The late week looks more negative perhaps as the Sun-Mars opposition is closest at that time.

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 includes discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Apple in trouble after iPhone sales miss

(10 May 2016) It's tough times for Apple and its CEO Tim Cook.  Its most recent earnings report showed the first quarterly decline of iPhone sales in its history.   The disappointment in this iconic company persuaded many investors to bail out of the stock as prices touched new 52-week lows of $93. It had been trading as high as $130 in mid-2015.  A few days later, Tim Cook gave an exclusive interview to CNBC's cheerleader Jim Cramer in an effort to bolster interest in Apple's supposedly bright future.  However, critics saw the interview as a desperate PR move in the wake of the earnings failure and plunging stock price.

A quick look at the horoscope and we can see why Apple's stock price is falling these days.  The transit chart for April 27th, the day the 1st quarter results were released which sent the share price down by 10%, show Mars and Saturn in the 11th house of gains. Since both of these planets are natural malefics, this is bad for a company's prospects.  Mars (14 Scorpio) is very close to Mercury (16 Scorpio) there and highlights the late April period specifically as problematic for the share price.  Also, transiting Mars comes under the near exact 3rd house aspect of Saturn (15 Virgo).   This is the last thing an investor would want to see on the day that quarterly earnings are released since Saturn is a quintessential bearish influence.

Both Saturn and Mars come under the trine 5th house aspect of Rahu (18 Cancer).  Although neither are particularly tight aspects, they are unhelpful.  Mars is now retrograding away from this Rahu influence but Saturn is backing right into it in the coming weeks.  This should be another negative for the share prices that argues against any quick recovery for the stock.

Saturn will continue its retrograde station into July and August when it stations direct at 15 Scorpio.  This will form an exact alignment with natal Saturn (15 Virgo) by 3rd house aspect.  Moreover, it will conjoin natal Mercury (16 Scorpio) and exert more pressure on share price.  It is very bearish and suggests Apple will tumble further by the summer.

We can see other afflictions. Transiting Pluto (23 Sagittarius) is hovering around natal Mars (22 Sagittarius) for much of 2016 and may well create more problems for Apple's share price in the months ahead.

Dasha Periods

Looking at the dasha periods, we can see that Apple is now in the Jupiter-Moon period.  From my experience, it is the minor period which exercises a greater influence on the ups and downs in prices.  The stock price will tend to rise in benefic periods and fall in malefic periods.  From its natural qualities, one would think the Moon period would be bullish for Apple since the the Moon is a benefic planet.  However, the Moon is conjunct Ketu in the 1st house.  Ketu is usually a negative influence.  Also, the sign ruled by the Moon is Cancer and it is tenanted by Rahu, another malefic planet.  Therefore, the Jupiter-Moon period is less likely to see prices rise and we should not be surprised that Apple share prices have fallen since the start of the Jupiter-Moon period in August 2015.  Since the Moon minor period lasts until December 2016, Apple's share price is vulnerable to more declines. 

This negative dasha outlook is confirmed by the transit influences outlined above.  Taken together, we can say that 2016 looks very challenging for the tech giant.  Interestingly, the technical outlook also looks bearish as the current price of $93 is sitting on animportant support level.  A break below this level would likely indicate much more downside. 

The preceding dasha periods also roughly fit the price movements.  The preceding Jupiter-Sun period saw Apple hit its all-time high of $130 in 2015.  The Sun is placed in the 11th house of gains -- a very apt placement for a share rise.  However, the conjunction with Neptune offers a warning: Neptune is associated with ideals and illusions that are often unsustainable.   Apple peaked in mid-2015 and then fell back down towards $100 so the net outcome of the Sun minor period was essentially neutral.  The stock price didn't go anywhere.

By contrast, the previous Jupiter-Venus period was more positive as the price rose from about $70 at the start of the period to about $110 at the end of the period.  Venus is a benefic planet by nature and it is also well-placed in the natal chart since it is conjunct Uranus and the 10th house cusp (or "Mc").

And before the Jupiter-Venus period was the Jupiter-Ketu period.  Ketu is a malefic planet, of course, but here it is well-placed.  It is important to take note of the changeable nature of the Moon's Nodes, Rahu and Ketu. While they afflict other planets they conjoin, they are themselves improved by these conjunctions.  That is the case here with Ketu as its potential is boosted through its conjunction with the Moon.  In addition, it receives a close aspect from benefic Jupiter. Therefore, Apple's share price rose during the Jupiter-Ketu period from $50 to $70.

Even Tim Cook's horoscope (November 1, 1960; no time) looks troubled as transiting Saturn is conjunct his Venus and squares his natal Rahu.  This looks like he will be preoccupied with losses and disappointment over the coming weeks.  As an added burden, transiting Rahu will conjoin with natal Rahu over the next few weeks.  Moreover, Pluto (23 Sagittarius) is opposite his Mars (23 Gemini) which suggests difficult situations involving frustration and stress, often as a result of power plays.  Since Pluto moves very slowly, this could be a very difficult year for the Apple CEO. 

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks generally declined last week on more concerns about growth in China.  The Dow ended the week down marginally to 17,740 while India's Sensex lost 1% to 25,228.  In last week's market forecast I thought gains would be fairly limited to the early week Sun-Jupiter alignment. As expected, we saw gains early and then some pull back later in the week on the Sun-Saturn alignment.

The early week has seen a nice bounce so far, presumably on the Venus-Jupiter aspect.  We could see some profit taking during Wednesday and perhaps Thursday as Venus aligns with Saturn. However, the late week alignments of Sun-Uranus and Mercury-Venus-Pluto may correspond to some upside.  So stocks could be fairly choppy for the rest of the week with moves in both directions.  Next week looks more problematic as the Sun enters sidereal Taurus and opposes Mars while Mercury aligns with Saturn.

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 includes discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.