Monday, August 6, 2018

Who is winning the US-China war?

(6 August 2018) The ongoing trade war between the US and China shows no signs of abating.  Last week, President Trump announced his intention to slap 25% tariffs on another $200 Billion worth of Chinese goods. China's response was muted as they only targeted $60 Billion worth of US products for tariffs.  While there is much gnashing of teeth about the possible global economic fallout of a full-scale trade war and a return to 1930s-style protectionism, so far financial markets are taking a wait-and-see approach.  At least they are in the US, where most stock indexes are again near their all-time highs from January.  The Dow Jones is comprised of more trade dependent companies so it has been lagging the NASDAQ and S&P 500.

But Chinese stocks have fared much worse and have actually entered a bear market as the Shanghai Index (SSEC) has fallen more than 20% from its January highs.  While global markets all sold off sharply in January, it should be noted that Trump announced the first tariffs on Chinese goods on January 23 as part of his "America First" economic policy.  Much of the global decline can be attributed to this action. 

As the SSEC price chart shows, this coincided closely with the decline.  One reason why tariffs have hit China harder than the US is because its economy is more trade-dependent.  Financial markets believe the US is in a better position to ride out any ongoing trade tensions, especially if its domestic growth remains stronger than the rest of the world.

The Davison relationship horoscope for the US and China aptly reflects this growing trade dispute.  The US-China relationship chart cast for the temporal midpoint of 17 February 1863, was under considerable stress in January when Ketu (South Lunar Node) was conjunct the Moon-Mercury conjunction (22 Cancer), very close to the 7th house cusp.  Ketu disrupts and interrupts the status quo and is usually seen as a malefic influence.  Mercury symbolizes commerce and the Moon represents collective mood and mindset.  Therefore, we can see that Ketu's transit of this very powerful and close conjunction of the Moon and Mercury would have significant effects.  As an additional layer of sudden change, transiting Ketu also closely aspected the natal Ketu-Uranus conjunction in the chart.

Moreover, Pluto (power, coercion, manipulation) is in a near-exact 120 degree angle with Mars, the planet of conflict, aggression and assertion.  While the 120 degree angle is seen as less damaging than a 90 or 180 degree angle, it is still a potent combination that indicates an extended time period of tension and conflict between the US and China.  In recent weeks, Saturn has been squaring its natal position (12 Sagittarius) and thus creating a climate of frustration, distrust and hardship. 

So what does the future hold?  The month of August could see some improvement in relations between the two countries as Mercury will align with Jupiter and Neptune this week.  This will align with the natal Venus (22 Aquarius) and offer the possibility of a much-sought after trade deal.  But I think there is also good reason to think that the tensions will worsen in September.  Mars is due to station direct on 27 August at 4 Capricorn and then it will approach the Moon-Mercury conjunction in September and October.  This looks unhelpful in terms of the chances for an enduring trade deal.  The Mars influence could be felt most intensely in mid to late October when the conjunction is closest. This could signify any deal falling apart or some other area of dispute arising, such as involving North Korea.

Another aspect of this situation is the afflicted chart of Chinese President Xi Jinping (15 June 1953).  Xi has been coming under unprecedented domestic criticism over the past week or two as middle and upper class investors has expressed disappointment with China's response to the trade war.  The upcoming Saturn station in September will oppose his natal Mars very closely -- within one degree -- and could indicate a very turbulent and difficult political situation for him.  It is possible that Xi himself could be forced out of power although it could also be a less serious event such as China suffering additional economic distress in financial markets. 

While it is usually a better astrological practice to expect more moderate outcomes, I would note that China's horoscope is very afflicted at this time.  The South Node Ketu and Mars are conjunct the Capricorn Ascendant while Saturn stations direct at 8 Sagittarius which is exactly on the equal 12th house cusp.  Saturn is due to square China's Sun and Mercury over the next year so that will likely reflect some ongoing disappointment and frustration with government and the economy.  I suspect that I will be returning to this topic again fairly soon as the situation develops.

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks have moved higher since the Full Moon and lunar eclipse on 27 July.  While there was indeed the expected pullback in the days following the Full Moon, the decline was surprisingly modest.  I thought we might have seen more selling given the tense Mars and Saturn alignments around the time of the lunar eclipse.   Although disappointing, the fact that we did see at least a small pullback nonetheless confirmed the notion of relatively bearish effects around the Full Moon period. 

Now the NASDAQ is at all-time highs after Apple posted strong earnings and became the first $1 Trillion corporation.  The Dow is still lagging other indexes as it is still holding on to the 25,500 level. Stocks have rallied in recent days as we approach a more bullish New Moon.  As it happens, this New Moon will also be a solar eclipse which occurs on Saturday, 11 August.  This is a positive factor for stocks this week.  Also we can see that the Sun-Mercury conjunction after hours on Wednesday the 8th will align fairly closely with Jupiter and Neptune.  This is another generally positive influence for the week.  So the stars this week offer support to the expectation that we could see new all-time highs in US and Indian stocks.  To be sure, it is unlikely to be a straight line upwards, but there are no strongly negative short term patterns in play this week.  Next week looks more mixed by comparison so markets may finally be approaching a time of reckoning.

For more details, check out my weekly investor newsletter.  I cover US and Indian stock markets, as well as short, medium and long term trends in gold, oil, and major currencies.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Trump and Putin: a very unusual relationship

(23 July 2018) The fallout is still ongoing from last week's Helsinki summit between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.  Trump was widely criticized from both sides of political aisle for siding with Putin in his denial of any Russian meddling in the 2016 US election despite the fact that every US law enforcement agency has concluded that Russia did engage in cyberattacks in the US election in an attempt to defeat Hillary Clinton and help elect Trump.

The resulting furor against Trump has again raised questions about why Trump would be so quick to defend Russia and Putin while dismissing his country's own security experts, and indeed most sitting members of his own party.  Many observers are now publicly discussing the possibility that Putin must have damaging information on Trump, the so-called kompromat, or embarrassing or blackmail-type information that makes the Russian asset easier to control.  These range from owing billions to Russian oligarchs to the infamous pee tape.

I doubt very much if astrology has the means to discover exactly what kind of dirt Putin has on Trump.  Let's leave that for Robert Mueller and the judgment of history.  But the nature of their relationship is something that can be examined astrologically through the combined Davison horoscope.  This technique offers insights on the relationship between two people by taking the half-way point in time between their births and casting a new chart.  This chart can then be analyzed for the nature of the relationship.  It may also offer predictive insights on future developments in the relationship. 

The combined Trump-Putin horoscope is therefore cast for 10.41 p.m GMT on 10 August 1949.  In addition to the well-established Trump time (14 June 1946 10.54 a.m.), I am using the more uncertain Putin birth time of 7 October 1952 9.30 a.m.  Looking at this chart we can see the themes of innovative behaviour that interrupts the status quo through the placement of Rahu (North Lunar Node) on the Ascendant in Pisces.  A strong Rahu is neither good nor bad but is more commonly found in the charts that emphasize breaking down barriers and tradition. 

Well, that may well be an apt description for Trump and Putin who are trying to undo NATO and end US global dominance as well as undermining the Western tradition of liberal democracy.  Of course, that may apply more to Putin than Trump but with Trump it's hard to know what his goals really are.  His only loyalty seems to be to himself and enhancing his own power.   If that involves weakening the Western powers and aiding the rise of authoritarian rule, so be it.

The theme of radical and coercive applications of power is seen through the 120-degree Rahu-Sun-Pluto alignment that is exact within one degree.  Sun-Rahu charts assert a new way of doing things and can often project their egos in unusual and sometimes hidden or deceptive ways.  The Sun symbolizes power and government while Rahu represents disruption, deception with an aim towards transformation. The Pluto dimension suggests manipulation and coercion without regards for rules.

The deception theme is also strongly implied by the exact Mars-Neptune 90-degree square that roughly aligns with the 1-7 axis.  Neptune is like Rahu in that sense, as it can distort intentions when it is in a negative angle with other planets as is the case here with Mars.

The other main placement worth noting is the Moon in the 12th house opposite Saturn.  The Moon in the 12th house suggests a hidden or behind-the-scenes quality to the relationship that can result in penalties or punishment in some way if the chart is afflicted.  This more negative reading of the Moon in 12th is due to the harmful influence of Saturn.  To me, this is confirming the secret nature of the relationship and one whose illegal means will eventually be revealed. 

These relationship charts also offer uncanny insights into timing.  The Helsinki summit took place on 16 July and we can see that Jupiter had just stationed at 19 Libra direct in a perfect trine, 120-degree aspect with the Moon and Mars in the natal chart.  This is typically a very positive Jupiter transit that reflects the coming to fruition of the relationship.  In other words, it seems likely that both Trump and Putin got what they wanted. 

Of course, transiting Neptune is also closely conjunct the 12th house Moon here and reflects the shady and perhaps imperceptible nature of the relationship at this time.  Neptune conjunctions can be favourable influences, although this is less likely here where the 12th house Moon is clearly damaged.  Neptune in conjunction with the Moon signifies delusion, deception and scandal.  Neptune moves slowly so the conjunction will persist through the rest of 2018 and into 2019 so the whole Trump-as-Russian asset theme is likely to go for a while.  But I guess we don't need astrology to know that.

And so what does the future hold for the Trump-Putin relationship?  It is quite possible it could escape careful scrutiny for a few more months but the chart comes under greatly increased stress in January.   At that time, Saturn will be in the 10th house and oppose Mars as well as casting its 3rd house/60 degree aspect to the Moon.  Saturn rules the 12th house of secrets and penalties, so its transit to the 10th house of power is more likely to expose some of the more nefarious characteristics of the Trump-Putin relationship. 

At the same time, Ketu (South Lunar Node) will be conjunct Jupiter in the 10th house.  This is usually a difficult transit that undermines the assumptions and philosophy of an individual.  Here I would interpret to mean that their way of working together is going to suffer a significant setback.  Saturn will then go on to station retrograde at the end of April almost exactly square the Ascendant and exactly quincunx the Sun.  Ketu and Pluto will also be there in close attendance.  This looks like the end of the relationship in its current form.  This is a very negative alignment that supports the notion that the hidden secrets of the Trump-Putin agreement will be exposed and most likely punished in some way.  This occurs right before the time that I had noted for a possible resignation or impeachment for Trump.  I thought that Trump is more likely to leave office sometime in the summer of 2019.  Perhaps this somewhat earlier affliction to the relationship chart in the spring offers a clue to a possible sequence of events where either Mueller or Putin pull the rug out on Trump first and then he is forced out in the summer. 

It seems incredible that The Trump Show will finally come to a merciful end but the planets do make a decent case for it.  We shall see how it all plays out.

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks have been moving sideways over the past few sessions as Q2 earnings season has begun.  The Dow made an interim high last Wednesday at 25,215 but has been slipping ever since.  The BSE Sensex has fared better as it closed at a new all-time high today.  In my previous market forecast on 12 July, I had suggested that stocks could rise a bit further but would be more vulnerable to declines late last week and this week.  This has been only partially correct as the pullbacks in the US indexes have been very modest so far. 

Nonetheless, I did not expect too much downside just yet since the key alignments are not yet in place.  This week looks more vulnerable to declines since Friday's Full Moon and lunar eclipse will carry a lot of potentially bearish baggage from the Sun-Mars opposition.  This is a nasty pattern this is likely to coincide with one or two significant down days this week and possibly into next week.  We could still see higher prices tomorrow (Tuesday) since the Moon will not yet be in conjunction with Saturn.  In that respect, Wednesday looks worse.   While our attention may be mostly focused on this Friday's Full Moon, the Saturn-Mars-Uranus alignment will be in effect well into next week and so we could have a longer period of higher than normal volatility.

For more details, check out my weekly investor newsletter.  I cover US and Indian stock markets, as well as short, medium and long term trends in gold, oil, and major currencies.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

US stocks hit new highs on New Moon

(12 July 2018) This year it's all about the Moon it seems.  Financial markets have been under significant pressure in 2018 from rising interest rates in the US and the imminent threat of Trump's trade wars.  But it has been the Moon that has had the final say.  Since the beginning of the stock market correction in January, stocks have risen and fallen in sync with the phases of the Moon. 

As I suggested in a previous post on the effect of the Full Moon, stocks have generally made significant lows around the time of the Full Moon.  Conversely, stocks have made interim highs right around the time of the New Moon.  This cycle has been more pronounced in US and European markets.  Since the lunar cycle lasts about 29-30 days, we have seen a repeating pattern of stocks rising for about two weeks into the New Moon and then falling into the Full Moon.

There has been solid statistical research on the effects of lunar phases on stock prices which bears out this pattern across many cases.  It is an empirical reality that cannot be easily dismissed, although the possibility of a self-fulfilling prophecy always exists.  But why it should be so pronounced and so obvious this year is harder to say.  I know that each time stocks pulled back around the Full Moon, there were also corresponding bearish planetary alignments.  The twin effects of the bearish Full Moon and different negative alignments likely exacerbated the usual lunar cycle.  Positive alignments have conversely tended to occur leading up to the time of New Moons.

And so we find ourselves on the eve of another New Moon tonight just before midnight EDT 12 July 2018.  Actually, this New Moon is also a partial solar eclipse so that could introduce some added tension to the mix. To be honest, I don't think that eclipses are all that bad.  While they have been traditionally regarded with dread and fear, their impact on financial markets is quite mixed.  Many eclipses have no effect at all, and some eclipses have been positively bullish for stock markets.  As a single variable, therefore, eclipses are not reliable predictors of any particular financial or political outcome.   Of course, not all eclipses are created equal.  Some solar eclipses -- and New Moons -- are more benefic than others due to the particular alignment of the other planets.  But that is a more detailed analysis best left for another day.

So will stocks swoon once again in the coming days after the New Moon?  I think it's quite likely.  Eventually, I would expect this lunar phase correlation will weaken with time but maybe not just yet.  The key co-factor is the other planetary alignments at the time of the New Moon.  As the chart below shows, there is a celestial tug of war of sorts between bullish Jupiter and Neptune and bearish Saturn and the North and South Lunar Nodes, Rahu and Ketu.  Jupiter just stationed direct on Tuesday and thus there was another reason for stocks to rise this week in addition to the approach of the bullish New Moon. And with Jupiter now slowing moving towards its 120 degree aspect with Neptune, there could be more optimistic  sentiment available to push stocks higher later this summer.  

However, the Saturn-Rahu/Ketu alignment is made worse by Mars.  Mars is retrograde and it is currently approaching its conjunction with the South Lunar Node, Ketu.  Weighing the respective effects of these off-setting energies is not straightforward but certainly we should acknowledge there is added risk in the days ahead.  And since we are now approaching the bearish Full Moon (and lunar eclipse) on July 27th , there is another reason to think that stocks will continue adhere to its pattern in the near term and tend to decline for the rest of this month.

So when might stocks start to fall?  Today saw the NASDAQ hit a new all-time high while the S&P 500 made an important new interim high.  As we can see from the price chart, the New Moon doesn't mark the exact days of interim highs.  In June, the New Moon occurred two days after the high while in May stocks made an interim high four days after the New Moon.  And April's New Moon occurred two days before the interim high for that month.

So there could be a grace period of a few days here before the next move lower begins.  I would nonetheless expect stocks to start to fall next week at some point.   For more details and possible market scenarios, check out my weekly investor newsletter.  I cover US and Indian stock markets, as well as short, medium and long term trends in gold, oil, and major currencies.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Born on the 4th of July: the year ahead for America

(4 July 2018) Many Americans are celebrating Independence Day today in an atmosphere of heightened anxiety and uncertainty.  While the Trump presidency has won its share of supporters who like his tough talk on trade, geopolitical isolationism, and anti-immigrant policies, most of the country still feels a mix of unease, fear and anger with the new direction of the country.   Trump seems determined on remaking the post-WW2 Pax Americana into a more unpredictable global regime where the US follows its narrower and more immediate self-interest regardless of the long-term consequences.

On this 4th of July, it is worthwhile to look at the Solar Return (SR) or Varshaphal horoscope for the USA to glimpse into possible trends for the year ahead.  While there is some dispute about the exact time (and even date in some cases) of the USA horoscope, I prefer the one timed for 6.30 pm on 4 July 1776 by Vedic astrologer James Kelleher.  I am not 100% certain this is the correct time, but there are a number of telling hits to the chart using past events which make it at least as plausible as any other time.  In that sense, it is a workable chart, if still a fallible one.

As we know, astrologers like to consult the birthday or Solar Return/Varshaphal chart of individuals or entities. The resulting chart can give indications for dominant themes for the next 12 months depending on how planets are oriented in the chart.  The birthday chart generally follows the same rules of interpretation as standard astrology, although adherents of the Tajika approach may beg to differ. 

If malefic planets like Saturn, Mars, the Lunar Nodes, Rahu and Ketu, are prominent in some way, then the year ahead is more likely to be challenging.  Progress may be slower than expected and setbacks and suffering are more likely if these malefic planets are negatively aligned with the Sun, Moon, or Ascendant.  Malefics in bad aspect with positive, benefic planets are also more likely to translate into difficult situations.  Conversely, if benefic planets like Venus, Mercury or Jupiter are more prominent in the chart, then the year is likely to be one characterized by rewards and happiness. 

N.B. The Solar Return chart for this year is actually dated for July 8 instead of the 4th due to the precession of the equinoxes.  In order to cast a chart for the exact same position of the Sun back in 1776, it is necessary to correct for the very slow movement of the solar system around the center of the galaxy.  This movement amounts to about one degree every 70 years.

2018 Solar Return

A quick look at this year's chart shows a couple of obvious problems.  Saturn is rising in the 1st house of the Self in Sagittarius while Mars conjoins Ketu in the 2nd house of finance and opposes the Mercury-Rahu conjunction.  Saturn in the 1st house suggests a year of pessimism and caution and the likelihood of intensifying national hand-wringing.  The negative Saturn influence suggests a continued souring of the national mood and the risk of major setbacks, economic, diplomatic and military. 

With Saturn in the legal sign of Sagittarius, we could expect more pessimism surrounding the legal process, the rule of law and thus the Mueller investigation.  Since Saturn in Sagittarius effectively pushes legal matters to the forefront, we are likely to see growing concern from these contentious areas including Trump's Supreme Court appointment, the laws surrounding immigration and border protection and possibly even the legal status of the President within the US Constitution.

But the good news is that legal institutions still look strong and may well rise to the occasion despite the currently chaotic state of affairs.  Jupiter is the planet of law, and it is in a very harmonious Grand Trine alignment with the Sun and Neptune.  The Sun represents the executive branch (President) and the government more generally while Neptune here should be seen as embodying higher principles of law, including its predominance over the wishes of any single individual. 

Therefore, I take this positive pattern as a hint that the US government will remain intact and legitimate for the next 12 months. Its institutions are likely to remain vigilant against any encroachment or attempted corruption by the Trump administration.  It also speaks to the outcome of the Mueller investigation.  The "witch hunt" label so often tossed around by right wing partisans will likely be seen as merely self-interested Trumpian bluster.  It seems likely that significant criminal charges will be laid in the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. 

To be sure, other interpretations of this Sun-Jupiter-Neptune pattern are possible as the strength of the Sun with Jupiter could reflect on Trump himself as his standing may improve.  However, the afflictions in Trump's personal horoscope look bad enough that I don't think this is a likely development over the next year.  The strong Sun-Jupiter in this chart is more of a reflection of Mueller than Trump in my view.


Economic and financial matters are likely to be an increasing source of worry during the next 12 months as the Mars-Ketu conjunction in the 2nd house could correspond with declines in national wealth.  Both Mars and Ketu are quick-acting and disruptive planets, so we could see economic fortunes deteriorate suddenly.  Trump's trade war is only in its initial "negotiating" phase, but this placement suggests it is likely to get worse before it gets better.  I would expect the rising tariffs on imports and loss of export markets for US goods to eventually reduce economic growth. 

Stock markets are unlikely to escape the fallout as 2018 looks increasingly like a lost year.  Previously, I had written that stock markets looked volatile and very choppy but might be able to avoid significant damage over the next year.  But this SR chart looks more negative for investing, so I would think a negative performance for markets is now more likely over the next 12 months.   

We can compare this SR chart with the SR chart for July 4, 2007 at the start of the financial meltdown.   Here again we see the 2nd house of wealth and assets afflicted by the Moon-Mars conjunction in Aries.  Mars is the key factor here as it usually makes outcomes worse for the matters related to the house it occupies.  Since Mars is with Ketu in the 2018 chart, there is a real risk that we could not only falling stock markets (N.B. the markets peaked in Oct 2007 and fell for the next 18 months) but that the US is more likely to suffer from slowing economic growth during the next year.  A recession (i.e. negative economic growth) is a likelihood in 2019 and 2020. 

Trump and the summer of 2019

While the 2018 Solar Return chart has more than its fair share of problems, the 2019 Solar Return chart looks much worse.  The Saturn-Ketu conjunction opposes the natal Sun within just a couple degrees while the Moon (people) forms a T-square.   This symbolizes stress to leaders and possible changes in government that will create an ugly national mood.  If Trump is going to leave the presidency, this July 2019 to July 2020 is the most likely time window when it could happen.  I tend to think the summer of 2019 is the most likely time when Trump will leave office.  A forced resignation is the most likely scenario given these terrible alignments.  The Mars-Mercury conjunction square to Uranus suggests deepening economic hardship leading up to the next General Election in 2020.

Weekly Market Forecast

The stock market suffered another decline last week given ongoing concerns about a deepening trade war with China.  The Dow touched as low as 24,000 last week before rebounding slightly early this week.  India's Sensex also briefly dipped below 34,000 last week before recovering somewhat this week.  This bearish outcome was very much in keeping with last week's market forecast as I thought Thursday the 27th's Full Moon would likely correlate with more downside.  The periods around Full Moons are often bearish, and this one was particularly negative given the close conjunction of bearish Saturn. 

Well, now that we are moving towards a theoretically more bullish New Moon on 12th July, will the market resume its upward climb?  I think that's likely but the gains may be more muted and unpredictable than previous New Moons.  The rallies into the New Moons on June 13 and May 15, for example, were fairly strong (4-6%) and were more or less one-way up trends.  The current period looks more mixed and suggests that the road higher could have some detours. 

One problem now is that Mars is retrograde and will align with Saturn and the Lunar Nodes, Rahu and Ketu towards the end of July.  As a rule, the more malefic planets involved in an alignment, the higher the probability of a down market.   Mars is already just three degrees away from an alignment although I suspect it will have to move a bit closer to produce any major selling.  Moreover, the next Full Moon will actually be a Lunar Eclipse on July 27th.  With both Mars and Saturn in the mix with this eclipse, it seems likely that this bearish Full Moon pattern will continue. 

Tomorrow's (Thursday, July 5) Mercury-Mars opposition looks bearish, especially in the morning although we could see some gains later in the day and on Friday as the Sun will be aspected by Jupiter. 

Next week looks a bit more positive as Jupiter ends its retrograde cycle on Tuesday the 10th and resumes forward motion.  Mercury will align with Jupiter in the early part of the week so that bodes well for positive sentiment, at least for a couple of days. 

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.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Bad Moon Rising? Stocks fall on trade worries

(24 June 2018)  As the old song goes, there could be a "Bad Moon Rising" this week.   We are due for a Full Moon this week just after midnight EDT, Thursday June 28th.  The Full Moon will rise Wednesday night/Thursday morning in the US, but it seems more likely that stocks will fall.  That's because the Full Moon has been living up to its bearish reputation in financial astrology here in 2018 as each Full Moon has coincided with significant declines. 

There have been several statistical studies that have shown a correlation between the Full Moon and declining stock prices.  These studies have shown that the period a week before and after the Full Moon have lower returns on average compared with the two-week window around the New Moon.  The days immediately before and after the Full Moon are generally more bearish while the time around the New Moon are bullish.  While this correlation clearly doesn't hold during each lunar phase sequence, it seems true over time. 

We can see that this relationship has been manifesting very clearly during this correction over the past six months.  The Full Moon of January 31 marked the beginning of the first and deepest decline in the correction with stocks bottoming out about one week later.  The Full Moon of March 1 almost exactly matched an interim low in the market (the low was on March 2) after which stocks rebounded.  

The next Full Moon was March 31 and also marked a significant pullback as stocks made a low just two days later on April 2.  The Full Moon of April 29 also came during a down trend as stocks bottomed five days later on May 3.  The most recent Full Moon occurred on May 29 and marked the exact date of an interim low in the stock market.

Not only have stocks generally fallen during that 15-day window surrounding the Full Moon, but very often the day of the Full Moon has marked an approximate bottom in the stock market after which sentiment improved and stocks rose again.

So will this happen again this week?  It's very possible.  Stocks have already been falling in the US last week as we entered the bearish 15-day Full Moon window late in the week.  We should make special note of the fact that the midweek Full Moon looks even more bearish than normal.  The Moon (12 Sagittarius) will conjoin Saturn (11 Sagittarius) and align with Rahu (North Lunar Node) at 12 Capricorn.  Saturn is a bearish planet, of course, so the fact that the Full Moon could derive some additional negative influence from Saturn suggests two things to me: 1) a higher than normal probability of a decline this week and 2) a higher possibility of a large decline (e.g. >2%). 

This Full Moon period of elevated risk could well extend into early next week as Mercury follows suit on Monday, July 2nd and aligns with bearish Saturn and bearish Rahu.   The standard bearish 15-day Full Moon window is due to end July 4th.

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, June 13, 2018

Trump meets Kim in Singapore

(13 June 2018) Now the hard work begins.  The much-anticipated summit between North Korea's Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump has finally taken place in Singapore.  The two leaders met over several hours on Tuesday and signed a commitment to work towards peace and to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.  The accord is undoubtedly an important first step towards a lasting peace although questions remain about specifics.  Most analysts were still skeptical of any tangible results in the long term.  Over the past twenty years, North Korea has signed similar promises to halt its nuclear weapons program at least seven times and has found ways to renege or violate the agreements each time.  It remains to be seen if this time will be different.

As I have previously suggested, I think this air of optimism is likely to fade by August as the principal horoscopes of Trump and the 1953 Korean Armistice show considerable affliction.  In addition, we can now add the special relationship (or Davison) chart between Trump and Kim.  This chart is derived by combining the birth data of the two men and dividing it in two. This produces a third, unique set of birth data which can be cast as a separate chart.  It is then used to see ups and downs of the relationship between the two individuals.

The derived relationship chart for Trump and Kim yields a birth date of 27 March 1965.  Very quickly, we can see why their meeting today was so successful.  Venus (3 Cancer) was at the top of the chart in the 10th house of status and public profile and thus highlighted notions of conviviality and sociability.  It also aligned very closely to the Ascendant.  Venus was also aspecting the Moon within three degrees.  Moon-Venus transits are classic signatures for pleasant social experiences. 

Mercury (4 Gemini), the planet of communication, was also prominent as it was placed in the 9th house of higher principles (peace, diplomacy) and also in close alignment with the Ascendant and the Moon by degreewise reckoning.  At the time of the meeting, the Moon was conjunct Jupiter, the planet of "right action", abundance, and optimism.  Rule-breaking Uranus is also there sitting on the 7th house and underscored the unprecedented and even surprising nature of the summit.  It was definitely an auspicious arrangement of planets for their first meeting.

What is worth noting here is that we can see that the August time frame is again highlighted by the transits of some negative planets.  Moreover, there are no transits of benefic planets which might offset some of the negativity.  Transiting Rahu is at the top of the chart in June and July.  This likely only reflects the importance and high profile of the Trump-Kim relationship rather than any particular results or outcome.  Rahu in the 10th house is a good transit actually, but by itself I wouldn't expect it to deliver any major steps forward toward lasting peace.  It may simply keep the whole issue at the forefront of the news cycle.  A possible key date may be August 9th, when transiting Mars conjoins the natal Moon and the Sun and Mercury are conjunct while aligning with natal Ketu.  This suggests a significant uptick in tensions. 

However, it doesn't look bad enough to be a deal breaker.  But all of August and September look increasingly difficult for this relationship since Mars will station direct at 4 Capricorn on Aug 27 while conjunct the Moon and square the Ascendant.  Moreover, Saturn will station direct at 8 Sagittarius in a close square alignment with Venus, the planet of amity.  This looks like relations may get quite frosty with more than a little hostility mixed in.

The deeper problem with the chart is that Neptune is opposite the Mars-Uranus-Pluto conjunction for the next year.  It's very unhelpful for peace since Neptune symbolizes delusion and deception when in hard aspect as it is here.  Given North Korea's poor track record on disarmament and Trump's own personal struggles with the truth, the Neptune influence looks like the relationship will have a high level of mistrust.  

The spring of 2019 looks like a possible peak of difficulties as Saturn and Ketu will align with natal Mars-Uranus-Pluto.  It is difficult to say exactly what may transpire at this time, but some kind of military conflict should not be discounted.  It is a very serious affliction to this relationship chart.   I hope to revisit these charts as developments unfold.

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks have generally continued higher over the past week as investors are managing to look past any temporary trade tensions with China and the G7.  The Dow lost just one point today closing at 25,320 while India's Sensex pushed higher to 35,692.  This mostly bullish outcome over the past week is more or less in keeping with expectations as I thought the Sun-Mercury conjunction and alignment with Jupiter and Neptune would boost sentiment. 

The Fed delivers its latest policy statement tomorrow and it is widely expected to raise rates again.  But all eyes will be on its forward guidance and the language it uses for possible future hikes.  Wednesday is the day of the New Moon so there is at least some possibility of further gains. New Moons tend to be bullish, although this is more of a statistical fact and not a high probability outcome.  The larger problem on this occasion is that the New Moon occurs in a difficult alignment with Mars and the Lunar Nodes.  For this reason I would think there is some downside risk on Wednesday.  Thursday's Moon-Mercury conjunction is in fairly close opposition to Saturn so that is another possible red flag for the market.  It seems likely that we will see some downside this week and perhaps into next week also when Venus opposes Mars at midweek. 

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.

Simplified financial transit outlook for June 13 - 20

Wed 6/13   New Moon 135 Mars-Ketu        bearish  -2

Thu  6/14   Moon-Mercury-180-Saturn       bearish  -3
                   Venus-90-Uranus                    bullish  +1

Fri   6/15   Mercury-180-Saturn                  bearish  -2
                   Moon-120-Jupiter                    bullish +1

Mon  6/18  Venus-Rahu                               bullish +1
                 Mercury-Jupiter-Neptune           bullish +1

Tue   6/19  Venus-Saturn                            bearish -1
                  Mercury-Jupiter                         bullish +1

Wed  6/20  Venus-180-Mars                       bearish -2
                   Moon-90-Saturn                      bearish -1
                   Mercury-Jupiter-Neptune         bullish +2

Monday, June 4, 2018

The upcoming Trump-Kim summit

(4 June 2018) It now seems virtually certain that US President Donald Trump will finally meet the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un.  The on-again, off-again summit seems to be a go now as the two will meet in Singapore on June 12.  The meeting is currently scheduled to take place at 9 a.m. local time. It will be the first time a US president has met personally with the leader of the isolated and enigmatic communist country of North Korea.

The meeting will represent the culmination of diplomatic efforts to stave off conflict in the Korean peninsula after North Korea had destabilized the region in 2017 with a series of provocative missile tests.  Kim's North Korea is intent on building an arsenal of nuclear weapons in order to defend itself against a seemingly hostile alliance of the US, Japan and South Korea.  Kim has apparently agreed to the US demand for denuclearization, although many observers believe he not serious about disarming and is simply buying time. 

My view of the planetary alignments on June 12 suggest the summit is likely to go well.  Using the horoscope of the Korean Armistice (July 27, 1953), we can see that benefic planets Mercury and Venus are placed in key positions.  Mercury (talking, communication) is very much highlighted as it sits at the top of the chart conjunct the 10th house cusp.  Both sides in the conflict will be talking constructively at the summit.  The Sun (27 Taurus) will be conjunct the natal Venus so that suggests a convivial and co-operative atmosphere between the two leaders. 

Since transiting Venus (3 Cancer) will conjoin the 11th house cusp (i.e. sextile the Ascendant) representing gains and wishes fulfilled, there is reason to expect the talks will go a long way to defuse tensions and set up further negotiations towards peace.  The transits of these fast moving planets all point to a successful summit.  Venus also gives a boost to Trump's horoscope at that time also as Venus conjoins its natal position.  That is usually an indication of favourable situations, especially with the Sun in the 10th very close to his birthday on the 14th. Trump should benefit politically from the summit.

However, I would also note that there is some instability here that is likely to linger.  Mars and Ketu (South Lunar Node) are conjunct the natal Rahu and the Moon.  This emphasizes the notion of conflict and unpredictability.  No one really knows what will happen in the summit as North Korea's Kim is almost as unpredictable as Trump himself.   The Mars-Ketu conjunction isn't exact, however, so I'm less inclined to think it will reflect tensions occurring during the summit. 

It may be the case that the fallout from the Mars-Ketu conjunction will occur later, after Mars has turned retrograde (June 26) and then conjoins the natal Rahu and opposes Mercury and the Sun more closely.  August will therefore be more difficult in this respect so I would expect tensions to escalate once again in the late summer.  Whatever progress or deal that may have been made at this summit could well be at risk culminating around the time Mars goes direct at 4 Capricorn on August 27.  Trump's chart is also hit hard by this Mars direct station as it will align with his Ascendant and sit on his 8th house of obstacles and setbacks. 

Where this year's diplomatic efforts will eventually lead is hard to predict.  Some short term success is possible but overall the situation doesn't look encouraging.  The armistice chart just entered its Mercury dasha period in 2017.  While Mercury is a benefic planet, it is "hemmed in" between malefics Mars and Ketu in the 11th house.  This is a very unstable and dangerous Mercury which strongly hints are the possibility of some serious problems emerging.  I do think there are some specifically difficult patterns in 2020 which will impact the Korean charts.  I hope to research this question further in coming weeks.

Weekly Market Forecast

Stock markets have moved higher over the past week on hopes that a full-blown trade war can be avoided.  The Dow closed higher again on Monday at 24,813 after some declines early last week.  India's Sensex closed at 35,011 and has been weaker due to expectations of an interest rate hike at the next RBI meeting on Wednesday.

This largely positive performance was generally in keeping with expectations as I thought stocks would likely recover around the Venus-Jupiter-Neptune alignment.  As expected, last Tuesday's decline coincided exactly with the Full Moon which was particularly bearish given the larger alignment of the Sun and Moon with Saturn.

As I have indicated in the simplified transit listing below, the planets this week look fairly positive.  To be sure, the ongoing Mars-Ketu-Saturn alignment doesn't look good at all.  It is a kind of looming cloud behind this market which will likely seriously damage sentiment at some point.  Since Mars is slowing down ahead of its retrograde station on June 26th, however, it is less clear when its negativity will manifest. 

But the bullish presence of a Sun-Mercury conjunction at 21-22 Taurus that aligns with Jupiter (21 Libra) and Neptune (21 Aquarius) makes me think stocks could extend their recent rise significantly higher this week.  The late week is perhaps more bearish, however, but Tuesday and Wednesday should be positive enough to produce gains. 

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.

Simplified Transit Outlook for week of 4 June 2018

Mon 4  bullish           Sun-Mercury-Jupiter-Neptune          +1
                                Venus-Pluto                                     +1   
                                Mars-Ketu-Saturn                            -1

Tue  5   bullish          Sun-Mercury-Jupiter-Neptune        +3
                                 Venus-Pluto                                    +1
                                 Mars-Ketu-Saturn                           -1

Wed  6  bullish         Sun-Mercury-Moon-Jup-Nep           +4*
                                (maybe too bullish -- a possible peak?)
                                Mars-Ketu-Saturn                            -1

Thu 7   mixed           Sun-Jupiter-Neptune                      +1
                                Mars-Ketu-Saturn                           -1

Fri 8     bearish         Moon-Mars-Ketu-Saturn                 -3

Mon 11  mixed         Mercury-Venus                                +1
                                Mars-Ketu-Saturn                           -1