Sunday, April 26, 2009

Week of April 27 - May 1

Stocks in New York finished mostly unchanged last week as the rally showed signs of weakening. After trading as low as 7800 on Tuesday morning, the Dow bounced back and closed Friday at 8076 while the S&P ended at 866. The story was much the same in India, as the bulls returned late week to push the market higher by 3% as the Sensex closed at 11,329 and the Nifty at 3480. This outcome was not unexpected as the apparently bearish Mars-Venus conjunction early in the week did push down prices. The late week comeback was also more or less foretold in the Mercury-Jupiter aspect and later, the Mercury-Uranus aspect.

The planets this week looks similarly mixed. Mars comes under the aspect of Ketu on Monday and Tuesday and with Pluto thrown into the mix, it is hard to see much upside there. Alignments of three malefic planets have the potential to create a mood of frustration and irritation which could encourage a more bearish stance. The mood may shift rather quickly, however, when Venus replaces Mars in that alignment by Thursday and Friday. Pluto and Ketu are still malefics and therefore should be treated carefully, but Venus has the power to transform their energies into something positive. Also Jupiter enters sidereal Aquarius Thursday, so that is another potentially positive energy, particularly for the technology sector since it is governed by Aquarius. So I would not be surprised to see a significant bounce later on. Gold may also stand to gain in the next week or two here. Indian markets are closed for Thursday and Friday, so they may miss out on some of this benefic Venusian energy.

As we approach the Mercury retrograde cycle which starts May 6, markets seem vulnerable to pullbacks. The planetary situation is complicated by the existence of opposite energies. The Jupiter-Uranus-Neptune alignment is very positive, and even more so if we want to throw Chiron into the mix which is also conjunct Jupiter and Neptune in early sidereal Aquarius. Much of this recent rally can be traced back to the formation of this very tight configuration of planets. It is so positive that its energy started flowing much earlier than I expected. I thought it might begin to drive up prices in April as Jupiter came to within 5 degrees of Neptune, but the rally began in mid-March when Jupiter was still 10 degrees away.

But on the other side, we have some more negative influences. The most immediate is Mercury turning retrograde in aspect with Rahu. This retrograde cycle lasts until May 31 and is often (but not always) correlated with sideways or negative trends since Rahu introduces irrationality into the thinking process as symbolized by Mercury. Second, Pluto forms a harmonic aspect with the nodes, Rahu and Ketu which will last for two to three weeks. This can be problematic for any large scale organizations such as corporations which are represented by Pluto. The nodal influence can signify uncertainty, transgressions, and imbalance and could coincide with a public skepticism towards large scale enterprises. Third, Saturn stations on May 16 as it returns to direct motion after spending the past five months in its retrograde cycle.

By themselves, Saturn stations may not incline the market one way or the other, although they can often mark changes in trend. For example, when Saturn turned retrograde on December 31, 2008, the fledgling market rally peaked just a few days later and began its long slide down to the March lows. The previous Saturn direct station on May 3, 2008 coincided with an interim market top as prices peaked days after and then began to fall in earnest by late May. This doesn't mean that I think the market is going to start to fall precipitously after May 16. Far from it. But as a malefic planet, Saturn has the ability to inject a lot of fear and pessimism into all situations. For this reason, the time window around this station is unlikely to pass without some bearish consequence.