Sunday, May 17, 2009

Stocks slide in advance of Saturn station

Stocks in New York pulled back off their highs last week as the likely prospect of the GM bankruptcy took a little wind out of the rally's sails. Overall the market lost 4% on lower volume as the Dow ended Friday at 8268 while the S&P stood at 882. Mumbai diverged from global patterns somewhat as
Friday's gain pushed the market up 2% for the week. After repeatedly coming up against resistance at 3700, the Nifty closed at 3671 and the Sensex at 12,173. The Mercury-Mars-Saturn alignment did largely coincide with the early week slump although the timing of it was less than mathematical. With the larger losses confined to Monday and Wednesday, this midweek negative pattern did not quite release its energy like clockwork, but the correlation was still suggestive of a bearish exclamation point against the recent bullish backdrop. Some strength returned to the market late week as the Sun moved into Taurus and formed a plausibly positive pattern with Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune. Reflecting the ongoing strength of the Indian market, this produced a significant gain Friday whereas in New York Thursday's modest rise was followed by a tepid rise Friday morning. The rally failed by noon, however, as traders took profits ahead of the weekend and took the market lower into the close.

This week offers a mixed bag of short term planetary influences. On Monday, the Sun conjoins retrograde Mercury in early sidereal Taurus, while the Moon is in Aquarius opposite Saturn. The Moon-Saturn contact is a marginally negative pattern, while the Sun-Mercury combination is quite variable but can increase the size of a move, depending on which way the market is leaning. The Sun's influence on Mercury can be seen as negative since the Sun is a nominally malefic planet in the Vedic schema, and yet the Taurus placement is supported by virtue of the strength of dispositor Venus which is currently exalted in Pisces. But Venus is in an awkward quincunx aspect with Saturn, so that may make things more difficult. Of course, the outcomes of this pattern will vary depending on the relevant natal chart contacts. In Mumbai, a big rally is expected on the heels of a convincing election victory by the pro-market Congress party. Clearly, the Indian market has been outperforming most other world markets because the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction has been placed at a more positive place relative to the natal chart compared with US markets. In the Sensex chart, for example. the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction occurs just three degrees from the ascendant. In New York, however, I would not be surprised to see some more weakness early on in the week as some natal support seems lacking. But Mercury will continue its retrograde path and form an apparently positive pattern with Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune midweek. Actually, Mercury will be in the same place (1 Taurus) that Sun occupied last Thursday and Friday when the market saw some strength. So some kind of gains are possible then. Later in the week may not be so favourable as the Sun comes under the aspect of Rahu. This isn't necessarily a bad aspect, but it opens up more uncertainty, and that may be problematic for investors seeking out long positions.

What is so interesting about the current alignment of planets in the sky right now is how exaggerated and overdetermined they all appear to be. There is a remarkably rare pattern that features a Jupiter-Neptune conjunction (2 Aquarius) that is taking place in near exact harmonic aspect with Uranus (2 Pisces). And if we want to throw in Chiron that is also at 2 Aquarius, we have an extremely infrequent pattern of bullish planets. It is no coincidence that we've seen the market rally as strongly as we have. But now May has seen Mercury turn retrograde and Saturn make its direct station, two decidedly negative influences which may force the market to pause before moving higher, at least in the US. This rare confluence of sharply good and bad factors has made prediction more difficult than usual (and it's never straightfoward), as the astrologer is confronted with equations for which there is no definitive solution, only interpretation and speculation.