Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lingering Jupiter-Pluto holds up stocks; Venus keeping bad company this week

Neither Mars nor Saturn could stop the melt up last week as stocks extended their rally on more better-than-bad economic data. In New York, stocks climbed another 2% with the Dow closing at 10,653 and the S&P at 1121. In Mumbai, the Sensex again traded near its highs for the year, closing at 18,143 as the Nifty finished the week at 5439. Despite the plethora of apparently troublesome aspects in the sky, financial markets are holding there own here. In the past two weeks, we've seen the often negative influences of Saturn-Uranus and Mars-Saturn come and go with barely any reaction from the markets. Does this negate the notion of any major financial problems from this rare alignment of outer planets? Or more to the point, should we simply dispense with all this astrology nonsense altogether and get with the program?

While I'm hopelessly biased, I would say "no" to both suggestions. Last week, I suggested that the bullish effects of Jupiter may be tested this week given the Mars-Saturn conjunction and the entry of Venus into sidereal Virgo. While Jupiter is separating from its positive aspect with Pluto and hence losing energy, this is a slow process since the separation is taking place at a rate of just one arc minute per day. Clearly, there is still a fair bit of Jupiter's optimism lingering here. And there is another complicating factor. This huge traffic jam of planets has blurred the immediate effects of individual planets and aspects. The Mars-Saturn-Uranus alignment on July 31 might typically generate more instability and fear but in the present circumstance, Jupiter is just a few degrees away from Uranus. Since it is a calming and edifying influence, Jupiter's close proximity may have delayed or transformed some of the the nastiness contained in the various Saturn aspects. In this case, I wonder if we will have to wait for Jupiter's opposition aspect with Saturn on August 16 to see just what kind of karma this unusual and monumental alignment is packing.

While the entry of Venus in sidereal Virgo did not spell any trouble early in the week, the midweek Mars-Jupiter aspect did correspond fairly closely with continued enthusiasm for stocks. Dips were bought, and prices generally stayed firm through Wednesday. The later week action also seemed to find a celestial correlate as the more bearish Mercury-Rahu aspect may have produced some modest declines in both New York and Mumbai.

This week we will see Venus aspect Jupiter-Pluto on Monday and into Tuesday. Any transits to this powerful Jupiter-Pluto aspect have closely coincided with gains so that seems a likely outcome here. It's especially interesting that this aspect will roughly concide with the FOMC meeting on Tuesday where Fed Chair Ben Bernanke will update his assessment of the US economy. There is some speculation that he might announce new stimulus measures to jump start a flagging recovery. This combination of planets would tend to support that notion since together they symbolize spending and expansionary thinking. On a more cautionary note, however, Venus will be further weakened this week. Not only is it debilitated in its transit of Virgo, but now it will be "hemmed in" between malefics Mars and Saturn. This makes it that much more unable to deliver its positive blessings. Later in the week, Venus will move very close to Mars, just as Mars forms an aspect with Rahu. This is an unfortunate combination of planets that will upset confidence and reduce comfort levels with the status quo. Neither contact is exact until next week, but this may not be the best time to split hairs.

"Doubt grows with knowledge." -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe