Sunday, April 4, 2010

Mercury-Mars-Pluto may set the tone

Stocks edged higher for yet another week as positive US economic data suggests that the recovery may be taking root. In New York, the Dow ended the week less than 1% higher at 10,927 while the S&P finished at 1178. The gains were more fractional in Mumbai as the Sensex closed at 17,692 and the Nifty at 5290. Last week, I had noted the possibility of gains on the multi-planet aspects involving Venus on Monday and Mercury on Wednesday. This is more or less what happened as Monday rose on the Venus (3 Aries) aspects to both Uranus (3 Pisces) and Neptune (3 Aquarius). Wednesday's favourable Mercury alignment was apparently delayed as stocks ended up gaining in Thursday's session. The delay may have resulted for Mercury "waiting" for the nice Moon-Jupiter-Ketu grand trine. Nonetheless, in the absence of these positive aspects, the market sagged -- a possible sign of background weakness from the stronger influence of Aries and Mars. So while this shot of negative Aries energy did plausibly weaken sentiment, it was not enough to lower prices overall. Since Venus transits sidereal Aries until April 19 and Mercury until June 6, we will have to pay close attention in order to track these more latent effects. We should also note that the Sun will transit sidereal Aries from April 14 to May 14 so that could is another potentially disruptive energy for the financial markets.

On paper, this week looks more bearish than last week as Monday's alignment of Mercury with Mars and Pluto suggests a rise in fear and frustration. While this should incline stocks towards lower prices in the early part of the week, the key square aspect between Mercury and Mars is nonetheless a little past exact. This may reduce its capacity for damage somewhat, especially in US markets. We can also note that this is only a partial strength square aspect since Mars' 270 degree aspect does not pack the same punch as its more damaging 90 degree aspect. Even with those caveats, however, it will be interesting to see how the market responds to thse tense planetary energies. Towards the end of the week, a minor Sun-Jupiter aspect may lift sentiment somewhat, with commodities like gold perhaps enjoying special benefit.

As the Saturn-Uranus opposition draws closer -- now less than three degrees -- we can be attuned to more clues about its eventual impact on stocks. While it is often a tense and difficult combination as evidenced by its role in the October 2008 meltdown, it is not always going to correspond with negative outcomes. Its ultimate effects depend on secondary and tertiary factors such as transit contacts, and the condition of planetary dispositors. While Saturn is a natural malefic, its energy can be made more benign if its dispositor, i.e. the ruler of its sign, is strong. In November 2008, Saturn was in the sign of Leo, which is ruled by the Sun. At the time of the sharp sell-off, the Sun was debilitated in Libra. This weakness in the Sun was therefore transfered onto Saturn to some extent and was another factor why the Saturn-Uranus opposition corresponded with such a large decline. In February 2009, Saturn was again in Leo but its dispositor Sun was now in Capricorn. The Sun is in an enemy's sign in Capricon and moreover Capricorn is six signs from Leo, which suggests tension. The market fell another 15% after this Saturn-Uranus opposition. Finally, in September 2009, Saturn was in sidereal Virgo at the time of its third opposition with Uranus. Saturn's dispositor was therefore Mercury. But Mercury was also in Virgo, which is its sign of exaltation. With a strong dispositor, Saturn created less of an atmosphere of difficulty as stocks generally rose through this particular aspect. There are other factors to consider, of course, but dispositors are nonetheless an important part of the overall equation.

This time around the Saturn-Uranus opposition occurs on April 26th with Saturn in sidereal Virgo. Saturn's dispositor Mercury will be retrograde in Aries conjunct and combust the exalted Sun. This seems less favourable than the September 2009 circumstances although perhaps not a grievous as the opposition in November 2008. While Mercury (and hence Saturn) may receive some benefit from its association with an exalted planet (the Sun), Mercury will be six signs from Saturn. In astrology, 6, 8,and 12 are generally seen as unfavourable house/sign relationships. The relatively difficult condition of Saturn's dispositor would tend to support the view that this Saturn-Uranus opposition will accompany lower stock prices. Let's see how it all plays out.