Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jupiter, and then Saturn

Stocks mostly treaded water last week as mixed earnings reports did not provide a sufficient push in either direction. In New York, the Dow closed at 10,609 while the S&P finished Friday at 1136. It was much the same story in Mumbai as investors were reluctant to extend the rally further. The Sensex ended the week at 17,554 and the Nifty at 5252. It seems we had something of a celestial saw-off, as the series of apparently positive aspects involving the Sun and Venus with slower moving planets was offset by the stations of Saturn and Mercury and Friday's disruptive solar eclipse. While I had been agnostic about the overall outcome here, I was a little disappointed by the relatively small moves on most days, with Friday being a significant exception as the New York market declined. The loss was in keeping with the general tone of a Mercury Direct station conjunct Pluto square Saturn. This definitely qualified as a "not very nice" combination, especially when you factor in the simultaneous solar eclipse. Whether these changes in planetary directions may mark a top to the market remains to be seen. Certainly, the market did not advance after Wednesday's Saturn station, but it's early days so we will have to wait and see.

This week again offers broadly offsetting influences. The early week seems to be dominated by the double aspecting of Jupiter by the Sun and Venus. Whenever Jupiter is involved, we can expect optimism and expansion to be more prominent. These are only minor 30 degree aspects so we may not see much in the way of upward lift here. But is there enough planetary fuel for stocks to rise to new highs? Hard to say, but if it going to happen, it will likely happen by Wednesday. That's because later in the week Saturn looks to be more the focus as Venus will form a trine aspect on Thursday and the Sun will follow suit on Friday. Saturn inclines towards caution and pessimism, so it is often correlated with declines.

Gold made another rally attempt last week but failed to go anywhere. As I expected, Gold was a little higher on Monday's Sun-Venus-Rahu conjunction but sellers moved in after that. Interestingly, prices started to slump as soon as Venus began separating from the Sun. Since the Sun is generally viewed as the planetary significator for gold, the gradual loss of the favourable influence of Venus coincided with falling prices. Not even some positive aspects with Uranus and Neptune were enough to put gold back into the plus column. This week could see another day or two of good gains on the Sun-Jupiter aspect but gold has lost an important planetary ally now that Venus has moved on so it's unclear how much of a rebound it can have this week.