Saturday, November 20, 2010

QE2 fuels inflation fears; Rahu-Pluto haunts markets

US Stocks were mostly flat last week on offsetting signals from China's bank tightening and Ireland's acceptance of the EU's bailout package. After briefly dipping below the 11K level, the Dow closed at 11,203 while the S&P finished at 1199. Indian shares fared worse as inflationary fears and tighter credit markets in Asia persuaded more investors to take profits. The BSE Sensex closed down 3% at 19,585 while the Nifty ended the week at 5890.

It was an interesting week in astrological terms as Monday's bullish Sun-Jupiter aspect did push up prices in Mumbai but optimism faded around noon in New York. Stocks then began to drift lower in the afternoon and continuing through the day Tuesday and into Wednesday. I had expected some significant downward pressure on prices going into the midweek Mercury-Saturn aspect and that was more or less what happened. As expected, Thursday was higher as risk appetite increased on the Sun-Uranus aspect. I was puzzled about what Friday might bring given the twin direct stations of Venus and Jupiter. While normally bullish, the coincidence of the nasty Mercury-Mars conjunction definitely took the shine off those benefic planets. Mumbai was sharply lower owing to some specific afflictions in the key natal charts while New York ended mostly flat as the early pessimism faded into equanimity.

The Fed continues to come under fire for QE2 and the inflationary pressures it has created in many emerging markets now awash in hot money. This is in keeping with the symbolism of the Rahu-Pluto conjunction that emphasizes the notion of power exercised by large organizations in the service of narrow and greedy self-interest. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of humanity's better impulses, but then again these are two malefic planets that are associated with some of the more base human qualities. While the exact conjunction of Rahu (the North Lunar Node) and Pluto occurred back on November 9, the slow velocity of these planets could mean a lingering influence into December. The quadruple conjunction involving Mercury and Mars in the second week of December may well mark a significant manifestation in this assertive and difficult energy.

This week will begin with the aftermath of the Mercury-Mars conjunction. On the face of it, this is bearish combination although since it is separating, it may not have a lot of negativity left in the tank. By midweek, we could see a rebound in sentiment as Mercury approaches its aspect with bullish Jupiter. This is perhaps not unexpected given the usual positive bias around the US Thanksgiving period. After Mercury loses Jupiter's glow later in the week, there may be a return to uncertainty, especially in Asian markets.