Saturday, July 24, 2010

Stocks rise as Jupiter turns retrograde; Saturn-Uranus this week

Stocks climbed another rung up the ladder last week as positive earnings news persuaded more buyers to allay their fears and enter the fray. By the time all was said and done, the Dow gained more than 3% to close at 10,424 while the S&P finished at 1102. Sentiment was similarly bullish in Mumbai as the Sensex hit a new high for the year before closing at 18,130. The Nifty ended the week at 5449. This positive outcome was unsurprising given the twin influences of Jupiter and Venus last week. Jupiter's tight aspect with Pluto is still dominating the sky, all the more so perhaps because it stationed and began its retrograde cycle on Friday. And as expected, the midweek Venus-Rahu aspect roughly corresponded with higher prices as Venus (money, consumption) was teamed up with speculative Rahu (desires).

Now we're in the thick of the planetary jungle. There are an unusually high number of close planetary aspects this week which may correspond to new directions and solutions, as well as contributing to a more intense atmosphere. Jupiter's optimism appears to be receding into the underbrush here since it has embarked on its retrograde journey on July 23. Saturn will oppose Uranus on Monday, so this may signal a new dynamic or pattern into the marketplace. Their previous opposition aspect occurred on April 26 and coincided exactly with the top of the US market for 2010. To make things even more interesting, there is an alignment between Mercury (commerce), Mars (action), and Neptune (imagination, deception). This trio does not seem especially conducive for more risk taking. In fact, it may coincide with some kind of disappointment, perhaps from a plan that goes wrong. Mars is set to conjoin Saturn on Saturday July 31 so that is another potentially powerful combination of malefic energies that bears careful scrutiny. We may be on the cusp of something fairly important here, and not just for the markets.

Finally, I should note that the current planetary configuration conforms to a bearish pattern isolated in the research of Thomas Rieder in his book, Astrological Warnings and the Stock Market. Using the historical price record of US stocks, Rieder showed that if Mars was in conjunction to a slow moving outer planet (Jupiter on out) while in hard aspect (90 and 180 degrees) to one other outer planet, stocks would then fall significantly about 70% of the time. Here we have Mars conjunct Saturn while in opposition to Uranus and Jupiter and square to Pluto. Rieder's model only required one aspected planet, but we currently have three. It's hard to say if that increases the likelihood or the scope of the expected decline.

"Always first draw fresh breath after outbursts of vanity and complacency." -- Franz Kafka