Sunday, March 21, 2010

Week of March 22 - 26

Stocks continued their upward drift last week as Fed Chair Bernanke promised to keep handing out free money indefinitely. The Dow made new highs for the year and added another 1% to close at 10,741 while the S&P finished at 1159. Ahead of Friday's surprise rate hike by the RBI, Indian markets advanced more than 2% as the Sensex climbed to 17,578 and the Nifty to 5262. This rise was in keeping with general expectations since the Sun-Mercury-Uranus conjunction was likely to increase risk appetite. Interestingly, we did not see much of a fall in the wake of Wednesday's Sun-Uranus conjunction and the opposition aspect between Mercury and Saturn also did not generate much selling. US markets imbibed in Saturn's bitter austerities as Thursday was flat and Friday was negative, albeit only modestly. The rate hike by India's central bank is a reflection of the growing influence of Saturn as inflation is becoming more of a concern. Saturn is the planet of limits and tightening in the face of runaway optimism and spending so it is possible we may be seeing a changing of the planetary guard here.

This week will feature the third of three quick transits to Saturn as the Sun opposes it early on Monday. With Mars also forming a minor angle here, there is good reason to expect bearish sentiment to increase. The more important question, however, is whether this activation of Saturn will fundamentally shift the mood of the market and start a downtrend as these aspects separate. Certainly, a trend change is more possible here since Saturn is now fast approaching Uranus for the fourth of five oppositions in this series. This occurs on April 25 and while the exact date may not be significant in terms of market dynamics, it does underline the importance of the current period. The 2008 low was created very near the first Saturn-Uranus opposition (Nov 4) , as was the March 2009 low (Feb 5). The third opposition in September 2009, however, saw the market continue its rally without significant interruption. So it is not certain that the market will form lows near this aspect but we can nonetheless make a plausible case.