Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Time running out on Boris' Brexit

(14 October 2019) The tension is mounting as the UK is set to leave the European Union on Oct 31 with or without a deal.  Negotiations are intensifying in recent days as the EU is due to meet on Thursday and Friday to render a decision about any possible last-minute deals.  British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has refused to extend the deadline past Oct 31 and has asserted that he would leave without a deal if necessary.  Huge anti-Brexit protests are due this weekend as the country remains deeply divided on the whole Brexit question. 

In a previous post, I thought Boris Johnson would eventually be successful in his drive to take the UK out of the EU by Oct 31.  However, I didn't quite anticipate the level of difficulty he would have up to now as his various tactical strategies have failed.  His desire for a snap election was thwarted because of lack of support in the Commons and his proroguing of Parliament was also struck down by the Supreme Court.

That said, the current political impasse is not that surprising given the level of affliction in the UK national chart.  Transiting Ketu and Saturn are still just one degree away from the Sun indicating severe stress and frustrating situations involving government and leaders.  Both Ketu and Saturn are past their exact conjunctions with the Sun so there is some possibility that the conflict could begin to diminish in coming days. 

I would note that more problems are likely during the upcoming conjunction of Mars to the Ascendant (16 Virgo) at the end of this week.  This coincides with the EU summit where a decision will be made about any prospective Brexit deal.   The Mars transit suggests higher levels of conflict although it is open to interpretation about how it may manifest.  Most simply, it could mean the EU rejects the deal -- a more likely scenario in my view.  But it could also reflect rising anger in the UK itself about an agreement for a deal, given the intensity of feelings on both sides.  Perhaps the deal will be unsatisfactory in some essential way.  Parliament is due to meet in a special sitting the day after on Oct 19 to debate and vote on any deal that has been struck.  The Mars-Ascendant influence is likely to make that a very contentious sitting of the Commons.  Well, no surprise there.

No matter how rancorous Parliament is, I do think the stars favour Boris Johnson.  Jupiter will be conjunct the UK's 10th house ruler Mercury (26 Scorpio) (government, 'good news') in mid to late October.  Interestingly, Johnson's Mercury (26 Taurus) is exactly opposite the UK's Mercury and means that Jupiter will align with his Mercury also.  That makes it more likely for him getting his way.  But Johnson also has basically the same mid-Virgo Ascendant as the UK -- just one degree away -- and that is one reason why he is so popular despite his often questionable tactics.  That means the Mars influence will hit him too and guarantees a very divisive and angry few days between Oct 17-22 for him personally.

As I posted previously, I think Brexit is going to happen on Oct 31 -- with or without a deal.  That's because the planets look very tense on that day with respect to the UK horoscope.  If there was going to be another 90-day extension it would more likely happen in the days leading up to Oct 31.  That would make Oct 31 pass uneventfully.  But the planets suggest the deadline is likely to pass with some importance. 

Mercury turns retrograde on Oct 31 and is square the UK Saturn (2 Leo).  That suggests some major confusion and misunderstandings -- probably related to the circumstances of Brexit.  And since Mercury is the planet of commerce, it suggests a negative stock market reaction to whatever happens in and around Oct 31. Transiting Mars will be conjunct the natal Ketu indicating anger and possible disorder.

Regardless of how messy or bitter Brexit is, I do think the next few months look fairly good for PM Boris Johnson.  With an election very likely in the coming months, he is in good position to win. 

Jupiter saves Justin: Canada's Trudeau wins re-election

(22 October 2019) Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau has won a second, albeit smaller, mandate on Monday as voters largely forgave his scandals and personal mistakes.  With the minority win, Trudeau's Liberals will now have to share power with the left-leaning NDP in order to form a functioning government.  The limited victory likely came as relief to Trudeau whose hold on power seemed precarious as a series of scandals and a spotty governing record made defeat a real possibility. 

Trudeau's win was not surprising to students of astrology, however.  As I posted back in March during the SNC-Lavalin corruption scandal, I thought Trudeau's horoscope was strong enough that he would win re-election, although he could lose his majority.  That is exactly what has come to pass. 

There were three key configurations in his chart that suggested a winning election result.  First, Trudeau would be experiencing his Jupiter Return in October.  This is a very strong positive influence as Jupiter confers rewards and wishes fulfilled, along with wisdom and "right action".  Jupiter returns to its natal position every 12 years and often highlights a short one or two-week time period of good fortune and new opportunities. 

Also Uranus (10 Aries) was forming a perfect Grand Trine with his natal Sun (10 Sagittarius) and the Ascendant (10 Leo).  Uranus moves very slowly -- just a few degrees a year -- so this Uranus alignment with the Asc-Sun alignment was very likely going to be manifestly positive for him.  The Sun represents the self and the ego, especially in leadership roles.  Uranus acts as a magnifier and is oriented towards projection into the public sphere.  Like the Sun and the Moon, the Ascendant is another significator of the self.   It was a fantastic configuration to have at a key moment in his political career.

Also, I noted that Trudeau's tertiary progressed Jupiter (not shown) was aligned with the progressed Sun and that this Jupiter is due to station direct over the next several months.  This is another powerful indication for career success.  These kinds of progressed Jupiter stations are probably even luckier in their effects than Jupiter Returns.  The timing is looser than with transits but it nonetheless creates a generally positive 2-4 month time window. 

Trudeau is running the Moon-Mercury dasha period which is another favourable influence.  The Moon is in the 8th house in Pisces with Mars and Chiron which isn't great but it does receive a close aspect from Jupiter.  Mercury rules the 11th house of gains and is conjunct Jupiter in the 4th house.  Overall, those are two generally positive dasha lords. 

The outlook for Trudeau seems mixed at best.  The Moon-Ketu dasha begins in December and will run until mid-2020. With Ketu in the 12th house, this doesn't bode well for Trudeau and his fragile minority government.  Troubles involving foreign countries are more likely and a sex scandal is possible as Venus aspects Ketu quite closely.  As it happens, Moon-Venus will be the next dasha period from mid-2020 to 2022.  Venus is with Rahu in the 6th so that also could be mixed for him with a possibility of legal problems involving females.

Minority governments do not adhere to a fixed election schedule so it is unknown when his next campaign will be.  If his government can stay in power for a while, then the Moon-Sun period starts in 2022 and would be a more promising time for him.  Election outcomes before that time look more uncertain.

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks have moved higher over the past several days on hopes for a Brexit deal and and positive US corporate earnings.   This outcome wasn't too surprising as I thought the Jupiter-Pluto alignment would likely offer some support to market sentiment.  That said, I thought we might have seen more downside than what we got.

This week looks more bearish as Mars aligns with Ketu and Saturn.  The Mars-Saturn alignment isn't exact until Sunday the 27th so that could limit the overall negativity somewhat.  The Planet Transit Index has a negative bias that should give bulls pause. 

With Jupiter-Pluto now separating there could be less positive influence to offset any negative short term aspects.  While I would not rule out a positive weekly outcome, the downside risk seems elevated given this Mars transit.

For a more detailed analysis of the markets, 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 for the short and medium term, as well as currencies, gold and oil.

Monday, October 7, 2019

The astrology of recession: Saturn, Jupiter and Pluto in 2020

(7 October 2019) Stocks have trended lower over the past week as surprisingly weak US manufacturing data has renewed recession concerns.  While Friday's middling US jobs report offered some respite, US markets were down for the week.  European and Asian markets were also generally lower as bonds and gold rallied. 

This bearish outcome was not unexpected as I thought the midweek Mercury-Mars alignment would likely correlate with some downside.   The late week rebound in the US and Europe also fit nicely with the entry of bullish Venus into Libra on Thursday and Friday. 

As bond yields are again testing their recent lows, the market is still focused on a possible recession next year.  The 10-year US Treasury is again yielding near 1.5% and remains the only game in town for many international investors who are seeking both safety and a positive return on capital.  With most Japanese and European government bonds with negative rates, money is flooding into both US equity and debt markets. 

Recession and planetary alignments

So how likely is a recession?  The planetary alignments would suggest a recession next year is more likely than not and certainly more likely than the ever-sanguine Federal Reserve.  Saturn is the planet of pessimism and restriction and it is often prominent during times of economic contraction and slowdown.  Saturn is due to conjoin Pluto and Jupiter in the first half of 2020.  Typically, close alignments between Saturn and other slow-moving planets increase the probability of economic difficulty. 

The last time Saturn, Pluto and Jupiter similarly conjoined was in 1981-1982.  This coincided with a 16-month long recession under Reagan that saw unemployment peak at 11% in November 1982 while the GDP fell by almost 3%.  We can see that Saturn was exactly conjunct Pluto at 4 Libra during the depth of the recession in late 1982 while Jupiter has moved past somewhat although still in the sign of Libra.

Interestingly, the exactly conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter occurred in July 1981 right at the time the recession began.  We should also note that the preceding Saturn-Jupiter conjunction occurred in 2000, the same year as another recession began.  We won't consider that case here since Pluto was not conjunct Saturn that year.   (N.B.  Saturn conjoins Jupiter every 20 years; Saturn conjoins Pluto every 35 years.  Saturn last conjoined both Jupiter and Pluto in 1820, and even then with a wider orb than in 2020)

This time around we will see these planets converge, albeit in a different sequence.  Saturn will first conjoin Pluto in January 2020, while Jupiter is due to make a wide five-degree conjunction with Saturn in May 2020 before both planets turn retrograde.  The exactly Saturn-Jupiter conjunction will then occur in December 2020.  

My general expectation is that these Saturn conjunctions with Pluto and Jupiter greatly increase the likelihood of a US recession in 2020.  Europe may already technically be in a recession so it may not take much for the US to follow suit, especially given the ongoing trade dispute with China and now the very real possibility of a Trump impeachment or resignation.

Moreover, I would note that the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in March 2020 will exactly oppose the natal Mercury (3 Cancer) in the US national horoscope.  Mercury is closely associated with commerce and economic activity so the Saturn-Pluto influence will likely have a negative impact.  As an alternative interpretation, we should also note that the affliction of Mercury could reflect the growing government crisis over impeachment since Mercury rules the 10th house in the chart and the 10th house symbolizes leaders and governments. 

Weekly Market Forecast

This week has started off on a bearish note as stocks were lower on Monday.  This produced a fairly predictable decline given the Sun-Saturn square aspect.  The rest of the week looks choppy at best with more down days possible as both Mars and the Sun will remain under some pressure from Saturn.  The late week looks somewhat more bullish, however, with Friday's Sun-Jupiter-Pluto alignment looking fairly good for an up day.

For a more detailed analysis of the markets, 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 for the short and medium term, as well as currencies, gold and oil.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Stocks wobble as Dems launch impeachment inquiry

(30 September 2019) Stuff is getting real now in Washington, DC as Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally pulled the trigger on the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.  The revelations in the Ukraine-Biden affair convinced Pelosi and the more moderate wing of the party to go ahead with the controversial impeachment inquiry.  Hearings are due to begin this week with the subpoena Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani. The eventual timing of the House votes on the Articles of Impeachment will depend on the length of the investigations but seem most likely to take place in November or December.  

In last Monday's post, I outlined a few time windows that could be decisive in this impeachment process: 1) late September;  2) late October;  3) early December and perhaps most importantly;  4) January-February.  In terms of the current transit picture, I didn't properly understand that the Mars (28 Leo) square aspect to Trump's volatile Moon-Ketu combination at 28 Scorpio could actually bring about the formal beginning of the inquiry.   It was clearly bad news for the president but it also more or less exactly coincided with impeachment launch. 

Interestingly, that same Mars transit also activated a key nasty pattern in Trump's inauguration chart (Jan 20, 2017, noon).  Mars was exactly square Saturn (29 Scorpio) and opposite natal Mars (0 Pisces).  This confluence of malefics is bad enough, but Mars and Saturn are doubly important in the presidential inauguration chart because Mars rules Aries which is the 1st house of the nation as a whole while Saturn rules Capricorn which is the 10th house of leaders and government.  Any afflictions to these planets will therefore likely correlate with problems for Trump.

The inauguration chart suffers from a more fundamental affliction since that ongoing Saturn-Ketu conjunction near 19-20 Sagittarius is sitting atop the equal 9th house cusp.  The 9th house symbolizes legal affairs such as impeachment.  Both Saturn and Ketu are usually negative influences and here they reflect stressful or harmful situations relating to law, including the Constitution.

The late October alignment of Mars with Saturn-Ketu will again highlight the 20 degree house cusps in the Inauguration chart.  Conflict may reach an interim peak around this alignment and could even correspond with the first vote to impeach.  Alternatively, it could be a lesser development but one which is no less damaging to Trump.  Remember that even if the House votes to impeach it still requires the Senate to convict him.  Most observers are expecting the House to vote to impeach but at the moment, it seems less likely that the Senate will impeach as GOP party loyalty to Trump looks intact for now. 

As restrictive as it may be, I don't think the early December Saturn-Jupiter alignment in Trump's chart is going to be decisive.  The more damaging alignment is likely in early 2020 when Saturn conjoins Pluto and both line up against the Venus-Saturn in Trump's chart in the 12th house of isolation and punishment.  

The inauguration chart is quite telling on that front since Saturn and Pluto will conjoin the MC (unequal 10th house cusp) and thereby highlight fundamental matters of leadership.  Saturn and Pluto may symbolize 'restrictions of power', 'acts of coercion' or the 'exercise of power'.   It looks like a very intense and portentous alignment.  At the same time,  Saturn (1 Capricorn) will also cast its full-strength 3rd house/60 degree aspect to Mars.  Overall, this looks like a very difficult time for Trump and the US government.

There is even more difficulty ahead since Saturn is due to station retrograde in April at 7 Capricorn, which is just one degree past the Sun (6 Capricorn) in the inauguration chart.  The Sun is the planet that represents the president and the Saturn station in April-May looks terrible for Trump.  As if to highlight the importance of that early spring window, Mars will conjoin Saturn atop that Sun on March 31.  While current political betting odds only have the Senate 25% likely to convict Trump, this gauntlet of Saturn and Pluto aspects in early 2020 suggest Trump's removal from power is more likely than many expect. 

Weekly Market Forecast

US stocks slipped last week as uncertainty surrounding the impeachment persuaded some investors to reduce their exposure.  Markets in Europe and Asia were also generally lower although once again, India rallied on tax cut optimism.   This negative outcome was not too surprising as I thought the Venus-Saturn alignment and the Mars entry into Virgo would likely make it difficult for stocks to rise.

This week has started on a positive note as Monday's Venus-Jupiter-Pluto alignment was predictably bullish.  Mercury aligns with Mars on Tuesday and Wednesday, however, so we should expect some kind fallout from that pairing.  Venus enters sidereal Libra on Thursday and Friday so that often translates into at least one up day.  Since Friday's Moon-Mars aspect is often bearish, that loads of the bullish cosmic dice for Thursday a bit more than for other days.  The relative strengths of these alignments are reflected in the Planet Transit Index below. 

For a more detailed analysis of the markets, 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 for the short and medium term, as well as currencies, gold and oil.

(Trump photo: c-span.org)

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Democrats one step closer to impeaching Trump

(23 September 2019)  It never ends.   President Trump has come under renewed scrutiny over the weekend for apparently withholding military aid to Ukraine in exchange for damaging information on the family of potential Democratic nominee Joe Biden.  If there is clear evidence that Trump sought the help of a foreign power to gain advantage over a political rival, moderate Democrats in the House of Representatives would be more willing to vote to impeach. 

While calls for impeachment have been growing over the past year, House Leader Nancy Pelosi has resisted it due to the vulnerability of some moderates in the 2020 election.  The Ukrainian-Biden affair is shifting the odds towards impeachment, however, as this is a more blatant "high crime and misdemeanor".  The House can impeach with a simple majority of 218 out of 435 seats and the Democrats currently control 235 seats. 

The Senate would then still have to publicly try the president as per the requirements of a proper criminal trial.  Given the high level of partisanship in Congress, it is very unlikely that the GOP-controlled Senate would vote to confirm Trump's impeachment since two-thirds, or 67 votes would be necessary. 

As I have noted previously, Trump's fortunes are under considerable stress throughout much of 2019.  He entered the less positive Jupiter-Saturn dasha period in November 2018 right around the time the GOP lost control of the House in the midterm elections.  It was a sharp rebuke to his authority.  Jupiter-Saturn will continue through to June 2021 so will encompass the upcoming election campaign.  It's a not a fatal weakness but it's definitely not a plus in terms of his re-elections chances.

Also Trump was subject to a number of very difficult transits this year.  Back in April, transiting Saturn stationed in a near-exact square aspect to his Jupiter (24 Virgo).  This may have contributed to many negative outcomes and created a sense of being blocked or restrained.  Since stationing direct last week, Saturn is again moving forward and will exactly square his Jupiter in early December. 

More immediately, Mars (27 Leo) is exactly squaring his Ketu-Moon conjunction at 27-28 Scorpio in recent days.  This is a nasty transit for anyone as it increases conflict and frustration, all the more so given the role of Ketu as a kind of cosmic amplifier. This Mars transit was the catalyst for the whole affair and the growing calls for impeachment.

So the question is: will the House finally move to impeach Trump?  In previous posts, I thought the summer was a likely time window for impeachment to take place.  I was clearly wrong about that.  And now that fall has begun I wonder if this is just more Democrat outrage that won't accomplish anything.

And yet, it's clear there are more bad transits ahead for Trump in the coming weeks and months. After Saturn squares up against his Jupiter in early December, it will oppose his Venus-Saturn conjunction in early Cancer in January and February.  This is arguably worse than anything he faced in 2019.  Saturn-to-Venus not only symbolizes troubles from females (Pelosi?) but Venus also rules his 10th house of career and status.  If there is an impeachment proceeding, Venus would likely be afflicted in some way since his status as president would be called into question.  The Saturn opposition to Venus-Saturn is made more potent since Pluto will be there also.  Pluto represents exercises of power and coercion, so that is a very plausible transit set up for impeachment.  And in late January and early February, irascible Mars is conjunct Moon-Ketu for good measure.

But if this Jan-Feb scenario plays out, it would seem unlikely that the question of impeachment could remain unanswered hanging in the air for another three months.  Perhaps that may reflect the unwillingness of the White House to hand over the transcript of the intelligence whistleblower which results in a lengthy delay before the House can even consider the evidence.  Or it could mean that formal proceedings may begin fairly soon, such as in late October (e.g. Mars squares Saturn/Ketu on Oct 25), but only culminate in a decisive vote during the Jan-Feb period. 

But these are only more questions than answers unfortunately.  Nonetheless, it seems the impeachment scenario isn't over yet.

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks tracked sideways last week as the Fed delivered its widely-anticipated cut of 25 basis points.  While the cut was seen in positive terms by the market, there was some disappointment that the Fed board is split over the prospects of future cuts.  Europe and China were somewhat bearish, however, as growth expectations fell on more negative economic data.  Germany may well be in a recession already.  India was one bright spot as the corporate tax cut pushed shares sharply higher on Friday and Monday (today).

The planets hinted at a more cautious outcome generally as some of the planetary values dipped below 50 into the midweek period and the Mars-Pluto alignment suggested pessimism. 

This week's planets are quite mixed.  Venus aligns with bearish Saturn into midweek, just as Mars enters the sign of Virgo.  These are both somewhat negative influences.  On the plus side, Mercury aligns with Jupiter on Monday and Tuesday while Venus aligns with Jupiter on Friday.  There is some downside risk here that will likely manifest at some point but whether it offsets any gains is harder to say. 

For a more detailed analysis of the markets, 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 for the short and medium term, as well as currencies, gold and oil.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Stocks fall after Saudi oil attack; oil rises 12%

(16 September 2019)  Stock markets ended Monday modestly negative after a sudden drone attack on Saudi oil facilities.  US stocks fell about 0.5% while bonds, gold and, of course, oil rallied on the news of the supply interruption.  While it is unclear who was responsible for the attack, the US is already pointing fingers at Iran or its Yemeni allies.  Retaliation from the US or Saudi Arabia has not yet occurred, but the situation is dangerously uncertain.  Moreover, the attack reveals a major vulnerability in Saudi oil production going forward.

The timing of the attack comes at an awkward time as stocks are within 1% of their all-time high and investors await the latest statement on interest rates from the Fed on Wednesday.  In other words, it may become harder to stocks to move to new highs given this unwelcome geopolitical development.  The Federal Reserve may also have to reconsider its default position of cutting rates in light of this possible inflationary spike in oil prices. 

Here are a couple of charts worth considering.  First, the NYSE horoscope suggests declines were somewhat more likely today and indeed, this week generally as Mars approaches its natal position at 27 degrees of Leo.  Mars-to-Mars transits are often stressful and frequently coincide with declines in stocks.  Mars will remain in conjunction with its natal position for the rest of the week, including the Fed meeting.  This increases the probability of more declines this week. 

We can also note that the ongoing Saturn-Ketu conjunction still looms large in the chart.  Saturn ends its retrograde cycle on Wednesday (FOMC day!) and will resume its normal forward motion.  As I have previously written, the Saturn-Ketu conjunction bears close attention as it is frequently associated with falling markets.  This year's Saturn-Ketu conjunction was unusual in that both Saturn and Ketu were moving backwards (retrograde) in tandem for several months.  This did not produce a uniformly bearish effect, however.  Asian markets (China, India) and many emerging markets were generally lower for the duration of the conjunction from April until now.  But the US and Europe were more positive, albeit with some choppiness. 

As it happened, the chart for Brent crude oil was looking somewhat bullish this week.  Jupiter and Neptune were aligned with the Ascendant, along with Mars and the all-important Moon.  This is a mostly positive pattern, especially given the inclusion of Jupiter.  The Mercury-Venus conjunction is aligned with natal Mercury this week so that was another potentially positive configuration.  I'm less convinced there will be more upside in the days to come, especially after the Fed meeting.  To be sure, the slow-moving Jupiter-Neptune influence is a fairly bullish influence but the Saturn-Ketu conjunction may be operating in the opposite direction. 

Weekly Market Forecast

The rest of the week may bring more downside, especially after the Fed statement on Wednesday.  One source of concerns is the midweek Mars-Pluto alignment.  This combination carries some downside risk, especially later in the week.  We should also note that both Mercury and Venus come under the full-strength square aspect of Saturn during the late week and into early next week.  This isn't always bearish, but it nonetheless skews the probabilities towards a negative outcome.

Ordering the various influences of each planet on a daily basis produces a speculative dot plot chart.  Here I am using the Vedic Shad Bala and Ashtakavarga charts as inspiration, rather than as a specific data source.  My own view of the respective planetary strengths is a composite of aspects, sign placements, and relative house rulerships.  The dip below 50 for several planets focuses on midweek and the Fed meeting. Let's see if Jay Powell will disappoint the markets once again.

For a more detailed analysis of the markets, 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 for the short and medium term, as well as currencies, gold and oil.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Elizabeth Warren on the rise as Dems prepare for third debate

(9 September 2019) It's been a good summer for Democratic 2020 contender Elizabeth Warren.  The Democrats are due to meet in Houston on Thursday for their third debate as the field has narrowed to just (!) ten candidates.  Former VP and moderate Joe Biden still enjoys a 10-12 point lead in the polls at 29% but the progressive Warren has now moved up to second place to 18%, just ahead of Bernie Sanders at 17%.  Kamala Harris is well back at 7% along with Buttigieg (4%), Yang (3%) Booker (3%) and O'Rourke (2%).

Warren is increasingly seen as the most viable progressive option to Biden as Sanders has so far failed to grow his base of support.  While we don't know her time of birth, her chart cast for noon June 22, 1949 hints at why she has picked up momentum this summer.  The positioning of Saturn has been much better for her in the past two months.  In the spring, Saturn had stationed almost exactly opposite her Venus (25 Gemini).  This may have blocked the advancement of her candidacy as Venus symbolizes happiness, success and social contacts while Saturn translates into restrictions, limits and disappointments. 

But Saturn's retrograde cycle this summer has moved it away from its opposition with Venus so this is one reason why Warren may have found greater appeal in recent weeks.  Saturn (19 Sagittarius) is now well away from Venus so that bodes well for the next few weeks at least for Warren's campaign.  The nodes, Rahu and Ketu, have also moved away from exact alignments with Venus and the Moon (24 Aries).  Troublesome Rahu was exactly conjunct Venus in the spring but has also moved off and has allowed her Venus to better express her political appeal with less encumbrance.

As far as Thursday's debate goes, I would expect Warren to acquit herself quite well.  Her chart doesn't get much benefit from the Mercury-Venus conjunction at 3-4 Virgo that day, but it will benefit from the Sun-Pluto aspect as it aligns closely with her Venus and possibly her Moon, depending on her exact birth time.  The Sun-Pluto influence on Venus and the Moon could be translated as 'a feminine and pleasing expression of power and leadership'.  The Moon is in Libra on Thursday, however, and lines up against her Saturn and Mars in a non-harmonious way.  The debate may be a bit tense in that respect although I would not expect anything too damaging or dramatic. But overall, Warren should help her cause in the debate. 

However, the longer term outlook for her is less positive.  At the time of the primaries in spring 2020, Saturn will station conjunct her Jupiter (=blocked progress) while Rahu will conjoin her Sun (disruption to status/authority) and Ketu will align with her Saturn (undermining of principles).  In addition, she has some very nasty progressed retrograde stations (Saturn and Neptune) in March, right around the time of the big Super Tuesday primary.  The winning candidate has to do well in those in order to have a chance to be the nominee at the summer convention.  Without good results in March, it will be nearly impossible for her to win.  Overall, I think Warren is a longshot to defeat Biden. 

A quick look at Joe Biden's chart suggest he will also do well on Thursday.  The Mercury-Venus conjunction at 4 Virgo aligns closely with his Sun-Venus conjunction at 4-5 Scorpio while the transiting Sun sits atop the MC.  This is a good transit set up for looking dominant and being successful in the debate. If anything, Biden's performance may well be better than Warren's, at least in terms of political outcomes. There has been some recent questioning of Biden's fitness for the presidency due to his advanced age.  Perhaps a good debate performance will help to allay those concerns. 

And yet I think Biden may suffer some kind of setback in September and October as Rahu is exactly aspecting his 12th house Mars.  Mars also happens to be his minor dasha lord so that could amplify the importance of this Rahu transit.  Rahu-Mars transits can indicate intense conflict and may even involve violence or punishment. 

The 12th house is associated with places of isolation such as foreign countries so there is a risk of some kind of damaging story about his foreign contacts.  Illness and hospitalization also cannot be ruled out since Mars in the 12th has these traditional associations.  Early October may be a somewhat more likely time for this kind of development since transiting Mars will conjoin Neptune (illness, hidden sources of income) and aspect Biden's natal Moon in the 6th house (health, legal matters).

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks generally rose last week on renewed hopes for a US-China trade deal as well as a loosening of capital requirements for Chinese banks.  I thought we might have seen a bit more downside, however.  We did see an expected decline on Tuesday's Mercury-Mars-Sun conjunction and the subsequent rise broadly conformed with the bullish Venus-Neptune alignment.  The late week was more bullish than expected, however, as the negativity of the Sun-Saturn-Ketu alignment was more or less offset by the bullish Mercury-Jupiter pattern. 

This week leans bullish as Mercury aligns with Venus for much of the week.  To be sure, Venus enters sidereal Virgo on Tuesday so that is a red flag for possible declines over the coming four weeks for this transit.  But it may not have any immediate effect, especially since Mercury may act to shore up any weakness in Venus as it transits through its sign of debilitation.  The second half of the week may see rising downside risk as Mars aspects Jupiter.  This looks to be strongest on Thursday and Friday so bulls should practice caution.

For a more detailed analysis of the markets, 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 for the short and medium term, as well as currencies, gold and oil.