Monday, October 15, 2018

Stocks plunge with Venus Rx; Trump blames "loco" Fed

(15 October 2018) Stocks tumbled across the world last week on worries that rising interest rates would undermine economic growth.  US stocks fell 5% on the week as the Dow and the S&P 500 traded below the all-important 200-day moving average.  President Donald Trump saw fit to lay blame for the decline on the Fed which he described as "loco" (i.e. crazy) for raising rates too quickly.  One thing's for sure in this White House is that when something bad happens, it's never Trump's fault.  This is doubly true now that Trump and the GOP are facing the likelihood of loss of the House and possibly even the Senate in the upcoming midterm elections.  For the pro-business Trump, he desperately needs stock prices to be as high as possible in order to justify his claim that his policies are working and America is once again "winning".

The decline in the stocks market is in keeping with our expectations of the bearish effect of the Venus retrograde cycle.  As I noted in last week's post, the once-every-18-month Venus retrograde cycle is more often correlated with declines, especially if the market has been rallying beforehand.  Venus turned retrograde on Friday, October 5 and will continue its apparent backward journey through the sky until November 16. 

As I suggested last week, the entire cycle isn't always negative from start to finish.  Instead, it should be seen as a 40-day period when some kind of meaningful decline is more likely to occur, even if stocks may sometimes recover before the end of the retrograde cycle.  In that sense, the Venus Rx cycle has already fulfilled its bearish potential already, regardless if it rebounds or not by mid-November.

While US markets are generally lower at the time of writing (Monday midday), this week stocks could see a brief rebound.  Monday's Mercury-Venus conjunction looks somewhat positive although the conjunction with the Mars node reduces the probability of gains from high to moderate.  The late week Mercury-Mars square aspect looks clearly more negative, however, so that increases the likelihood that the rebound may fail as early as Wednesday or perhaps Thursday.  Friday's Sun-Moon-Jupiter looks more positive, however, especially if there has been some more selling in the days prior.

For more details, please check out my weekly subscriber newsletter which is published each Saturday.  It covers the US and Indian equity markets, as well as currencies, oil and gold.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Venus turns retrograde: stocks fall as interest rates rise

(8 October 2018) It's a classic case of good news and bad news.  The good news is that US economy is getting stronger with historically low unemployment rates and 4% GDP growth.  But the bad news is that this is creating inflation pressure so that interest rates must rise.  The Federal Reserve raised rates again at its September 26th meeting and the bond market has seen yields spike last week as the benchmark 10-year rate pushed above its previous high to close at 3.22%.  This means that the cost of borrowing is going up and that could eventually undermine the economy as debt servicing costs rise.

The spike in yields proved too much for the stock market as US stocks took a significant hit last week.  It seems that US markets are finally catching up with the rest of the world.  Asian and European markets have been falling since September -- or in some cases like China, since January -- as rising US rates are creating havoc for highly leveraged foreign corporations.  Indian stocks, for example, have tumbled more than 10% since their late August top as the BSE-Sensex is now trading below 35,000. 

I had been quite bearish for September given the unusually close Saturn-Ketu-Uranus-Mars alignment.  But US stocks had managed to escape the pessimism of this pattern largely undamaged.  Things may be changing now that Venus turned retrograde (Rx) on Friday, October 5th.  Unlike nasty planets like Saturn, Ketu and Mars, Venus is typically a benefic planet that is associated with wealth, love, beauty and in the economic context, with value and optimism.  For this reason, Venus alignments more often coincide with market gains.

But once every 18 months or so, Venus turns retrograde and begins its 40-day retrograde cycle where it appears to move backwards in the night sky.  The energy of Venus is therefore transformed.  Its symbolic associations remain the same but they are expressed differently and in often unpredictable and less pleasing ways.  In market terms, Venus retrograde periods have a more negative correlation.  If Venus is mostly bullish when it is moving forward, it tends to have a bearish influence when it is retrograde. 

This is not to say that stocks decline throughout the entirety of its 40-day retrograde cycle.  But some kind of significant decline is probable at some point during that cycle.  And we should note that some Venus retrograde cycles aren't bearish at all.  This was the case in March 2009 when the bear market bottom coincided very closely with the Venus retrograde station, i.e. stocks rose while Venus was retrograde.  This is another reminder that these sorts of single planetary factors do not guarantee a particular outcome and should be seen as probabilistic influences.

But if we take a look at  recent Venus Rx periods, there is nonetheless a strong bearish association. The previous Venus retrograde cycle occurred on 4 March 2017 and lasted until 15 April.  The Dow had just peaked a few days earlier on 1 March as stocks began a pullback that lasted for the duration of the Venus Rx cycle.  Venus ended its Rx cycle and stationed direct on 15 April just a few days before stocks bottomed and the market resumed its rally.   If only Venus Rx cycles always worked this neatly!

The preceding cycle began on 25 July 2015 and lasted until 6 September.  The Dow had been already edging lower during the summer but the Venus retrograde cycle seemed to closely correlate with a major sell-off in August.  While the rebound began towards the end of the Venus Rx cycle, stocks remained much lower than they have been before the cycle began.

And before that, Venus turned retrograde on 21 December 2013 and then stationed direct on 31 January 2014.  Stocks had been rallying at the time that Venus stationed Rx and they continued to climb for another week before peaking and reversing lower.  By the time of the end of the Venus Rx cycle on 31 January, stocks had suffered a net loss through the 40-day cycle.  They would bottom just two days after Venus stationed direct and resumed forward motion. 

And the preceding Venus retrograde cycle began on 15 May 2012 and ran until 27 June 2012.  This is perhaps the least compelling case of the four cases here and yet Venus Rx was not bullish by any means.  Venus turned Rx on 15 May when it broke key horizontal support.  This bearish move produced substantially lower lows as the Venus retrograde cycle lived up to its difficult reputation.  However, stocks recovered somewhat by the time Venus stationed direct on 27 June although they remained well off their previous high.  While stocks finished largely flat for the 40-day cycle, one cannot characterize this Venus Rx cycle as bullish in the slightest and the presence of an additional decline in the middle of the cycle seems appropriately bearish.

The takeaway here is that Venus retrograde cycles have a deservedly bearish reputation.  While this sample size is admittedly small, stocks are more likely to feature a decline during the cycle although they may not necessarily end up lower. 

As the current Venus Rx cycle began last Friday 5 October, it raises the question of where stocks could be when Venus stations direct on 16 November.  There are few things to note in this regard.  First, I would say there is a greater potential for more downside during the next six weeks.  This could mean that US stocks fall further but could rebound by mid-November.  Second, there is a somewhat greater likelihood that stocks will be lower in mid-November than they are now.  How much lower is impossible to say based on this single factor alone but certainly the negative influence of Venus retrograde elevates the risk to a level greater than chance. And, of course, there is still the possibility of an outlier case like 2009 where the Rx station proved significant but in an unexpected way as stocks rebounded while Venus was retrograde in the weeks following the station. 

This week could see additional declines as Venus exactly aligns in a tense square aspect with Mars midweek.  This was likely a factor at the end of last week as it was within a couple of degrees but this week it is exact.  An added burden on sentiment may be the Mercury alignment with Saturn and the Lunar Nodes, Rahu and Ketu, later in the week.

For more details, feel free to check out my weekly subscriber newsletter.  The newsletter is published on Saturday and covers US and Indian stocks, as well as currencies, oil and gold.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Kavanaugh nomination: an excess of Mars

(25 September 2018) Like many things in the Trump presidency, the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination has deteriorated into a partisan chess game.  Or circus.  Things were going smoothly for the nomination until Kavanaugh's former high school classmate came forward with a sexual assault complaint two weeks ago.  Suddenly, the slam dunk nomination of what was to be the 9th and deciding conservative/GOP vote on the court is up in the air as a result of the bombshell September 13th letter to Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. 

Christine Blasey Ford is due to testify at the Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday, September 27th to give her side of the story.  Two other women have since come forward with sexual misconduct complaints against Kavanaugh although it isn't yet clear if they will be given a hearing by the Senate Judicial Committee.  Suddenly, what looked like a sure thing is now more like a 50-50 proposition based on the odds from

As is often the case, we don't have the exact birth time of Brett Kavanaugh. While the estimated horoscope for noon can be useful, it is often better to find some surrogate chart which can stand in for this particular situation.  I think the moment that President Trump nominated Kavanaugh is a plausible chart to see how this whole thing may unfold.  Trump made the statement of nomination on July 9, 2018 at 9.05 p.m. in Washington, DC.  This was immediately followed by Brett Kavanaugh's short acceptance speech which concluded with a "Thank you" to the president at 9.18 p.m.  It is this second time I have used as the de facto acceptance of the nomination. 

Let's look at the charts.  First off, the Kavanaugh nomination chart is very conflicted.  The Mars-Ketu (South Lunar Node) is rising in the 1st house and reflects how contentious the nomination has become.  The Moon is exalted in Taurus but aligns closely with the Mars-Ketu conjunction and thus intensifies how emotional and volatile the whole process will be.  With Capricorn rising, Saturn is Lagnesh for this chart and it is poorly placed in the 12th house of hidden actions and loss.  One one hand this may reflect the unseen actions behind the scenes that are guiding both sides in this nomination and hence the possibility of intrigue and falsified testimony.  The fact that the 12th house represents "loss" is a big negative for the ultimate outcome for the Kavanaugh nomination.  12th house placements like this usually aren't decisive but they do raise the possibility of failure.  And even if he is eventually sworn-in, this is the kind of chart that raises serious questions about his long-term legitimacy on the court.  

The rest of the chart is more mixed.  Uranus near the 4th house cusp suggests a fast-changing and unstable nomination process.  Well, we have definitely seen that thus far.  But the hidden strength of the natal chart is that Jupiter is stationary direct in the 10th house of achievement and status.  This is an excellent placement as Jupiter would return to direct motion in the day following the nomination on July 10th.  This at least potentially offsets the negative effects of the 12th house Saturn placement. 

When the sexual assault complaint became public on September 13th, transiting Mars was conjunct the Ascendant at 7 Capricorn almost exactly.  Mars, of course, symbolizes conflict and disputes, and, we should note, male sexual activity.  Mercury (20 Leo) is closely opposite Neptune reflecting the state of confusion and lack of clarity about the nomination at that time.  

The transits for Thursday's hearing look very conflicted also. Transiting Mars will be exactly conjunct the natal Ketu at 10 Capricorn, while the transiting Moon will be square that conjunction during Thursday morning.  Moon-Mars-Ketu alignments are typically unpredictable and emotional and often tinged with anger.  It should be a memorable hearing by all accounts.  But more importantly, I would think that this alignment bodes poorly for Kavanaugh and his GOP sponsors.    Kavanaugh is more likely to be seen in a negative light from this hearing.

The larger question is whether there are any telling alignments which might suggest success or failure in the nomination.  This question is made more difficult since the date of the final Senate vote is unknown.  Some pro-Trump senators are suggesting a final confirmation vote could come as early as this Friday.  I would certainly note rule out such an early vote since transiting Jupiter at 27 Libra is very close to the MC (unequal 10th house) at 28 Libra.  With the Sun at 11 Virgo, it will activate a Grand Trine pattern with transiting Mars and the natal Moon at 10 Taurus.  Are these the alignments of a successful nomination?  Yes, it's very possible.  Grand Trines are often good for taking decisive action, even if this involve Mars.  The possibility of a positive outcome is greater since Venus is slowing down ahead of its retrograde station in Libra just 3 or 4 degrees from natal Jupiter.  This Venus-Jupiter pairing is another favourable tailwind for Kavanaugh and the GOP. 

However, I don't have a strong opinion on how this drama ends.  The data is thin so it is hard to make a prediction one way or the other.  The Jupiter-MC influence looks positive for a Kavanaugh confirmation but it could just as easily reflect the media prominence of the hearings rather than the outcome itself.  Similarly, the Venus-Jupiter conjunction could reflect the ratings bonanza of this must-see television for the cable news networks.  And yet Donald Trump's chart suggests some positive developments in the days ahead as a result of the Venus retrograde station on October 5th.  Venus will station at 16 Libra in a near exact 120 degree angle with his Mercury.  This is likely to translate into some positive outcomes for him.  If I were a Democrat, this is what I would worry about.  Of course, there is so much going with the various plot lines in the President Trump Reality Show that it is hard to know what it could pertain to -- Kavanaugh, Rosenstein, Mueller, Stormy Daniels, NAFTA negotiations, midterm candidates, etc.  But the Venus influence is broadly positive for him during late September and early October so that could easily reflect a Kavanaugh confirmation. 

The bottom line is the planets are equivocal with low levels of confidence in any outcome, but especially a negative confirmation outcome.  Trump's planets look strong enough for confirmation although as we know, that could pertain to any number of behind-the-scenes matters. 

Weekly Market Forecast

Meanwhile, the US markets remain buoyant as all the trade war talk has yet to exact any significant price on the US economy.  The Dow has finally joined the other indexes and reached new all-time highs.  Indian stocks have pulled back significantly as the emerging markets contagion has finally hit home on Dalat St. with its attendant inflationary pressures and declining rupee.  I thought we might have seen more downside in the US and Europe by this time given the difficult Mars-Saturn-Ketu-Uranus alignment.  Monday's Full Moon did correlate with some downside in Asia but as usual, the US has proven more resilient as international capital has decided the US is a safe haven for now.

The Federal Reserve is due to release its latest policy statement on the economy tomorrow.  A rate hike is virtually certain but it is the forward guidance that will be parsed carefully.  While the Sun-Mercury have passed their square alignment with bearish Saturn by that time, it is more difficult to see the market reacting favourably to the Fed given the ongoing Sun-Mars-Ketu alignment.  Sun-Mars alignments are slightly bearish depending on other factors, but the involvement of the Lunar Nodes with Ketu here increases the uncertainty.  This uncertainty could last through the rest of this week and even into early next week. 

For a more thorough analysis of the possible market scenarios, please check out my weekly subscriber newsletter.  It features a discussion of the relevant astrological and technical trends on both short and medium term time frames for US and Indian stocks, as well as currencies, oil and gold.  The newsletter is published every Saturday. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Trump escalates trade war with China

(17 September 2018) What was previously seen a mere bullying negotiating tactic became a reality today in the Trump's trade war against China.  This afternoon President Donald Trump followed through on his threat to impose tariffs on a wide range Chinese goods entering the US.  The 10% tariff on $200 Billion of consumer goods will start September 24th and is due to be increased to 25% by the end of the year if no solution is found to the ongoing trade dispute. 

Stocks sold off across the board in reaction to this new Trumpian economic reality.  The Dow and S&P 500 fell by 0.5% (but 1%  after the announcement following the market close) while the NASDAQ and Russell 2000 fell by more than 1% on the day and another 1% after the close.  As I suggested in last week's newsletter, Apple (and tech) was particularly vulnerable to a possible escalation in a trade war since China could single it out and punish it more specifically.  For his part, Trump did not include China-made Apple products on his list of taxed electronics but the risk remains.

The relationship chart between Trump and Chinese President Xi is very afflicted this week.  Taking the halfway point between their birth dates, the resulting relationship chart (14 December 1949) has a very heavy presence of malefic planets.  The Mars-Ketu conjunction suggests surprising disputes and 'conflict beyond boundaries' is closely aligned with the Venus-Jupiter conjunction in Capricorn.  This strident Mars influence will likely intensify in the coming days as it approaches Jupiter more closely.

Saturn (8 Sagittarius) is approaching is conjunction with Mercury, the planet of trade and commerce.  Saturn is a negative influence as it often acts to constrain the qualities of the planets it comes into contact with.  Therefore, Saturn-Mercury would be a very apt combination for signifying the restriction of trade between the US and China.  And yet we should note that the Saturn-Mercury conjunction will be exact and hence more potentially powerful in November so that may suggest no quick resolution to the dispute.  And it leaves open the possibility that the trade war may well escalate further.  Trump has threatened to add another $267 Billion of Chinese goods if things don't go his way.  All Apple products would be included in that final tranche of taxable imports if it came to pass.

A third element of conflict is clear from the Sun-Mercury conjunction in late Leo and early Virgo coming up to hit the Mars-Saturn conjunction in the relationship chart.  This is a terrible short term alignment as it activates a very intense Mars-Saturn conjunction in the relationship chart between these two world leaders.  Given the afflictions in the rest of the chart, the Sun-Mercury pairing is highlighting a time of rivalry and frustration between both men. China may retaliate later this week, possibly when the Moon is aligned with Mars and Ketu.  Interestingly, that very volatile triple conjunction occurs over top of the Ascendant in the China national horoscope (1 Oct 1949).  It hints at a very raw, intense and even emotional situation. 

While we should expect continued tension between the US and China on the trade front in the coming weeks, I would suggest that some kind of significant rapprochement is likely to take place in March or April 2019.  At that time, Jupiter still station retrograde at 0 Sagittarius -- just one degree past the natal Sun in the Trump-Xi horoscope.  It is a very positive and constructive transit that could finally lead to a breakthrough. 

Weekly Market Forecast

Markets around the world did sell off on this tariff news today.  India has finally joined the sell-off that has been ongoing in emerging markets since January and now perhaps the US will also.  The planets were pretty negative today given the Moon-Saturn conjunction and the Mars-Uranus square and Sun-Moon square (Ashthami Day).  The planets this week do not offer any compelling case for a quick rebound, although they may not preclude one or two positive trading days.  Tomorrow (Tuesday) may bring better conditions for the Moon but the afternoon looks more unfavourable once again.  Mars will still be in a 90 degree angle with Uranus so there is the potential for sudden and unexpected (and negative) developments.  It's hard to be bullish here.

The Moon may figure prominently on Wednesday and Thursday as it conjoins Mars and Ketu (i.e. South Lunar Node) on both days.  This is a more bearish alignment more along the lines of what we saw today. While I would be reluctant to predict two more big down days, some additional selling looks more likely than not.  Friday's Moon-Jupiter square hints at more optimism.

For a slightly different take, readers may be interested to see how the week may play out from a numerical index for planetary placements.  It's still very speculative and experimental at this point, but hopefully it can lead to a better understanding of how planetary cycles may work in the financial markets.

Of course, my weekly subscriber newsletter still offers more detailed coverage of short and medium term trends in US and Indian stocks, as well as currencies, oil and gold.  The newsletter is published every Saturday. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Can Apple deliver the goods yet again?

(10 September 2018) Apple's annual event this Wednesday comes at a crucial time for the company. Its market dominance is greater than ever as it recently became the first company in the world to be worth more than $1 Trillion.  Not surprisingly, its share price has been making new all-time highs since it last reported its earnings at the end of July.  And yet there could be a lot riding on what CEO Tim Cook unveils at this event.  Expectations are high for something more than just a new model of iPhone. 

In recent days, Apple's share prices has started to sag a bit as fears the trade war with China could start to bite. Neither Trump nor President Xi show any sign of backing down or returning to the negotiating table to resolve this dispute.  The problem for Apple is if the trade war gets worse, Apple products may get caught in the crossfire.  Already there is talk of a "tech wreck" as more computing parts have become subject to tariffs.  If push comes to shove, then China could deliver its "nuclear option" which in this case would be to slap a hefty tariff on all Apple products coming into China.  That would be very bad news for Apple and would likely hit the share price hard.

I don't know what will happen at the Apple Event this week but it does look like some difficult days lie ahead.  The Apple IPO horoscope reveals a tense alignment of malefic planets hitting the Ascendant (8 Capricorn)-- the most sensitive point in the chart.  Saturn stationed direct last week at 8 Sagittarius on the equal 12th house cusp and formed a 30 degree angle with the Ascendant. 

This tends to be negative although it can sometimes be offset by positive planets elsewhere in the chart.  However, negative planets are much stronger here as Ketu (the South Lunar Node) is approaching its conjunction with the Ascendant at 10 Capricorn.  Ketu's effects are often disruptive and unexpected.   And last, but not least, Mars is due to conjoin the Ascendant next week.  It stationed very close to the Ascendant in late August, right around the time when Apple's share price started to decline.

On Wednesday, there is the possibility for some initial excitement around the Apple event since the Moon conjoins Venus at the top of the chart.  This is usually a good transit for public profile and gaining accolades and rewards.  The opposition with Uranus on the 4th cusp should also be seen as a plus in this respect.  Perhaps Tim Cook will announce something that is well-received. 

And yet the alignment with Saturn, Mars and Ketu is very close and therefore more unstable.  Venus is a fast moving planet which may only bestow rewards on Apple for a couple of days, if that.  The problem is that Mars' slower velocity means it will take longer to manifest its negative energy.  It moves exactly atop the Ascendant next week (Sep 19-20th) so that would be the hypothetical time of maximum pressure for Apple.  But the whole month of September has an above normal level of risk.  I wonder if the troubles that lie ahead have more to do with China and Trump rather than what is revealed at the Apple Event on Wednesday. 

And as Apple goes, so goes the whole US market.  The outlook this week is mixed.  We saw modest gains on Monday around the Sun-Jupiter-Pluto alignment.  We could see a bit more upside tomorrow as the Sun aligns more closely with Jupiter and even more into Wednesday as the Moon-Venus influence is nominally bullish also.   But Mars appears to be getting ready to inflict some damage.  Cracks in the optimism may reappear later in the week.

For more details on the short and medium term outlook for the markets, check out my weekly investor newsletter.  The newsletter is published every weekend and covers US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil, and major currencies.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Summer's gone: what's next for stocks?

(3 September 2018) As the summer winds down, the US stock market appears as unstoppable as ever.  With the exception of the Dow, most of the main indexes hit fresh all-time highs last week.  Investors have generally shrugged off trade worries and instead focused on growing corporate earnings and the Fed's promise to raise interest rates gradually.  With the notable exception of India, markets outside the US have generally fared less well as more trade dependent economies such as China and Europe have suffered significant losses this year.

So what happens next?  From a technical point of view, there is good reason to think that stocks will likely undergo some kind of pullback or correction in the coming weeks.  Pullbacks are normal occurrences in a bull market, even one that is entering its 10th year as this one is.  The astrological perspective also strongly suggests that a pullback will occur in September and could begin as early as this week.

The current planetary situation is complex.  We can see powerful multi-planet alignments centered around both Jupiter and Saturn.  Bullish Jupiter has been in a very slow-moving and long-lasting alignment with Neptune throughout summer.  Jupiter's direct station in early July formed a close angle with Neptune which remained within range for two months.  This is one of the reasons for the extended summer rally.  Now Jupiter is moving away from its 120-degree angle with Neptune so there will likely to be a reduction of optimism in the weeks ahead. Jupiter is also due to align with Pluto next week (exact September 12) so that could coincide with some upside.

However, bearish Saturn is becoming more prominent in September as it stations direct on September 6 and aligns with Uranus for much of the month.  The added twist here is that the ongoing Saturn-Uranus alignment will align with Mars and Ketu, the South Lunar Node, later in September.  This four-planet alignment looks quite tense and seems incompatible with a stock market rally.  More likely, it will mark some kind of pullback.  While the alignment is exact in the second half of September, it could begin to be felt somewhat before and after the dates of maximum alignment.

Using the horoscope of the NASDAQ, we can see how this very nasty Saturn-centered alignment could make a big impact on stocks, especially tech stocks.  Saturn is stationing at 8 Sagittarius which is exactly trine the Ascendant at 8 Aries.  Saturn also conjoins Venus (9 Sagittarius) for the month of September.  Uranus (8 Aries) will also conjoin the Ascendant and hints at the possibility of sudden, large moves in the markets. 

Saturn-Uranus don't have be bearish and indeed they have been within range for several weeks already during which time the market went up.  But Jupiter was stronger than it is now.  The other area of concern is that Saturn-Uranus will be joined by Mars and Rahu.  I would think some kind of decline is likely, possibly larger than many bullish investors expect. 

This Week

Aside from the slowly evolving Saturn situation, Mars is due to aspect Mercury via its most malefic 210 degree/8th house aspect.  This is a fairly reliable indicator of some major downside (>1%) on at least one day this week.  It is close from Tuesday to Thursday so some selling looks likely at some point across those three days.  Tuesday looks somewhat worse than Wednesday, while Thursday may be the worst of the lot given the Moon-Mars opposition that also occurs that day.  On Friday, Mercury aligns with Saturn and Uranus in a Grand Trine pattern and could produce a significant move. 

The last time we saw a fast-moving planet form a Grand Trine was on August 24 when the Sun aligned with Saturn and Uranus.  While not quite exact in its alignment, the markets rose sharply that day.  We could well see a repeat this Friday.  At the same time, the Sun-Neptune opposition on Friday looks less positive and suggests confusion and lack of confidence.  So there is a lot going on there that could argue for either a gain or decline.  Or even both in quick sequence.

For more details on the short and medium outlook for the markets, check out my weekly investor newsletter.  I cover US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil, and major currencies.

Monday, August 27, 2018

The astrology behind the McCain-Trump feud

(27 August 2018) The passing of Republican Senator John McCain on Saturday has highlighted the deep divisions in US politics.   McCain was one of the longest-serving and most respected Senators who was known for his sense of honor and human decency and his ability to rise above partisanship when necessary.  He also staunchly opposed President Donald Trump and the changes he has wrought in the Republican Party. Trump's ascension to the White House has transformed the GOP from a "big tent" right of center party into a vengeful, ethno-nationalist populist party. 

There was no love lost between McCain and Trump.  Trump famously insulted McCain during the 2016 campaign when he cast aspersions on McCain's long captivity and torture in North Vietnam.  But McCain got the better of Trump when he delivered the famous 'thumbs down' deciding vote against the GOP's repeal of Obamacare in July 2017.  Trump has maintained his disdain even with the death of McCain as he never even mentioned his name in the official White House announcement of his passing, let alone offer any praise for his life of public service.  Before he died, McCain also expressly stated that Trump was not allowed to attend his funeral which will be held on Saturday.  He called instead for eulogies to be given by former presidents and political rivals, George W Bush and Barack Obama.  Even in death, the bitterness remains.

It is interesting to see how this level of rancor and enmity manifests itself in the horoscopes.  While it can be useful to do a standard overlay comparison of the charts (e.g.  A's Mars is opposite B's Sun, etc.), I am currently in the thrall of Davison Relationship charts.  These are derived charts that take the temporal midpoint of the births of two people in order to cast a third chart.  This halfway mark between the dates of birth of two people is often very telling in terms of describing the nature of their relationship.  It can also give an accurate timing of events that impact the relationship through transits and progressions. 

Trump was born on 14 June 1946 while McCain was born 10 years earlier on 29 August 1936.  Their derived relationship chart therefore takes the halfway point in between -- 22 July 1941 at 7.09 p.m.  The resulting chart is very clearly reflects their mutual disdain.   Saturn is sitting on the 7th cusp directly opposite the Ascendant.  Cold, austere, no emotional connection at all.  Saturn is aspected by Neptune-Rahu very closely and thus makes the Saturn influence even more harsh, unbending, and unusually intense. 

The other thing to notice is that Venus is also part of that large Saturn alignment as it sits up in the 10th house in a close square with Saturn.  While it would be tempting to think that this strong, angular Venus might somehow offset the exaggerated and harsh Saturn influence, it actually makes it worse.  A Venus-Saturn square nullifies all the pleasant, social Venus side of a relationship.  The fact that it is highlighted on the angles with the Ascendant in focus adds an additional layer of cold detachment.  Since the Venus-Saturn-Rahu-Neptune alignment is so closely aligned with the Ascendant, it may well reflect the public nature of their mutual dislike.  The angularity of the planetary alignments pushes those qualities into the public sphere.  As a result, Trump and McCain are famous for hating each other. 

The Moon-Mercury conjunction in Gemini in the 8th house is almost exactly squared by Mars.  This is clearly a relationship characterized by conflict, frustration and anger.  A close Mars aspect to either the Moon or Mercury would have been sufficient to generate some conflict but this is a double whammy since both the Moon and Mercury are subject to the energy of Mars.  It is difficult to imagine a more hostile alignment of planets between two people.

At the time of McCain's deciding vote against the GOP Obamacare repeal, Rahu was sitting near the 10th house cusp conjunct Venus and activating that Saturn alignment.  Since Rahu is the planet of disruption and surprises, this placement was an apt reflection of the sudden nature of McCain's vote.  It wasn't clear how he would vote until prhaps an hour before the roll was taken.  The Sun-Mars conjunction at 10-11 Cancer was exactly conjunct natal Pluto, the planet of power and coercion.  Clearly, this was McCain's power play against Trump as he stuck to his principles.  The vote was the political defining event in their troubled relationship.

The upcoming funeral on Saturday, 1 September also should highlight their rancorous relationship.  The near-stationary and powerful Mars is in close opposition to the Sun suggesting that the memorial service will be another instance where their mutual dislike will be on display.  Venus will be conjunct the cusp of the 12th house of loss and isolation.  This symbolizes the absence of any Venusian sense of sociality or mutual empathy.  Mercury's placement near the top of the chart could represent how their dysfunctional relationship will be communicated and shared with a wider audience through the media coverage of the event.

Weekly Market Forecast 

Stocks have continued to march higher as the summer nears its end.  Most of the major US indexes have hit all-time highs, with the notable exception of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.  I thought we might have seen some weakness come into the market last week as we approached the Full Moon and the Mars direct station. That really hasn't happened yet, however, and Monday's rally on the possible NAFTA breakthrough did not hint at any imminent declines. 

While stocks could rise a bit further from here, I still think the clock is ticking on this rally.  The time around the Saturn-Uranus-Rahu alignment in September is likely to shift the market logic.  Saturn is due to station direct on 6 September so that first week of September is definitely one to watch.  But this week there is more of a mix of alignments.  Today's gain was fairly predictable on the bullish Moon-Mercury-Jupiter alignment.  Tuesday looks much less positive, however, so we could see some profit-taking and some downside.  Wednesday also looks suspect as the Moon will still be close to Full and also in the 8th house from the Sun.  I wouldn't expect anything too dramatic this week but maybe the tides will begin to turn on the market.

For more details on the short and medium outlook for the markets, check out my weekly investor newsletter.  I cover US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil, and major currencies.