Saturday, October 16, 2010

Stocks stay firm after Venus retrograde

US stocks edged higher last week on the hope that the Federal Reserve
would undertake a new round of stimulus measures to revive the flagging
economy. Despite the the deepening of concern over the foreclosure
scandal that implicates many large banks, the Dow closed slightly higher
at 11,062 and the S&P500 finished the week at 1176. It was a somewhat
different story in India, however, as investors took profits on worries
the rising Rupee might undermine exports and outsourcing. The BSE
Sensex lost 1% to close at 20,2125 and the Nifty ended Friday's session
at 6062. This was our first glimpse at the possible effects of the
Venus retrograde period (Oct 7 - Nov 18) and the results were a little
underwhelming. A change in direction in Venus might have corresponded
with the rally coming to an end and prices moving lower. It's harder to
make that argument now since prices have generally drifted higher,
albeit not by much. Last week's Mars aspects on Monday and Friday saw
some weakness, especially in India, although the early week period was
fairly strong. The midweek Venus-Uranus aspect did correlate nicely
with Wednesday's big gain.

This rally that began in September is largely rooted in the assumption
that Ben Bernanke will continue to pump liquidity into the system in
order to stave off a deflationary spiral. With interest rates near
zero, stocks become a very attractive investment, especially as the US
Dollar is on the verge of turning into a Third World currency. This
belief in the power of cheap, risk-free government money to paper over
any economic shortcomings might be linked to the recent Jupiter-Uranus
conjunction that was exact in September. Jupiter symbolizes expansion
and wealth, while Uranus embodies the notion of risk and excitement.
Together, these planets increase the appetite for risk and may well
reflect the market's infatuation with the Fed's intention to "pump it
up", regardless of the consequences. While this conjunction is now
separating and therefore weakening, there seems to be a continued
reservoir of belief in this 'glass as half-full' approach. The
retrograde motion of Venus offered the possibility that the current
approach to shopping, buying and the valuation process may be undergoing
some kind of change or review.

This week has an unusually high number of close aspects involving both
Jupiter and Saturn. On the face of it, it would seem that the optimists
may claim bragging rights as Monday's Sun-Jupiter aspect inclines
towards the bullish camp. Wednesday's Mars-Jupiter aspect appears to
support wise (Jupiter) actions (Mars) and in the past often coincides
with gains. In between these configurations is more of a mixed picture,
however, as Venus is in aspect with Saturn in the midweek and
afterwards. The Mars-Neptune square late on Friday also seems more
negative as actions may lose their focus or be subordinated by hidden or
deceptive means. And with Mars simultaneously in a harmonic aspect with
Saturn here, the late week period could be significantly negative.

"The only principle that does not inhibit progress is: anything goes".
-- Paul Feyerabend