Saturday, December 11, 2010

US Stocks drift higher on Jupiter-Uranus; Mercury runs gauntlet this week

Stocks in New York drifted higher last week as favorable economic data supported the belief that the recovery is 'just around the corner'. The Dow was slightly higher at 11,410 while the S&P500 fared somewhat better closing at 1240, its highest level since 2008. Indian stocks were lower, however, as domestic inflation concerns and the outbreak of more financial scandals sent investors to the exits. The BSE Sensex tumbled more than 2% to 19,508 with the Nifty finishing at 5857. Meanwhile, gold fell back below $1400 last week as currency worries were put on the back burner. I had pointed out the probable negative effect of the early week Sun-Saturn aspect and all markets were generally weaker at that time, although Mumbai continued to fall through Thursday, possibly due to natal afflictions. Gold's decline arrived more or less on schedule with this aspect as prices tumbled more than 2%.

As most global markets inch higher here, we may well be seeing the "glass half-full" thinking that comes with Jupiter-Uranus conjunctions. Now that Jupiter is only two degrees away from Uranus, most markets are choosing to not "fight the Fed" and just get on board with all the cheap money Bernanke is injecting into the financial system, regardless of the downstream consequences. Jupiter's confidence and optimism is combining with Uranus' love of excitement and risk-taking to create something of a monster that has lost its sense of caution and fear. Well, it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. The exuberance of Jupiter with Uranus may be seen as an astrological equivalent of a bubble. Even as more commentators openly question how long this game of musical chairs can go on, the bubble continues to be inflated. When will it pop? One possible answer might lie in the date of its exact conjunction on January 3, 2011. Once conjunctions are exact, they begin to lose energy as the planets separate. This is a general rule of thumb, however, as other influences must also be factored into the overall equation. Certainly, we are getting pretty close to that point where the balloon cannot expand any further without popping.

This week we will see the immediate effects of the bearish quadruple conjunction of Mercury, Mars, Rahu and Pluto. While this alignment has not been very negative in the US, it has had more impact in Asian markets where the negative effects of the inflation of Jupiter-Uranus is in full view. Mercury may be the key planet to watch here as it symbolizes trading and information flows. Now in its retrograde cycle until Dec 30, Mercury will conjoin Mars and Pluto early in the week with its closest pass on Tuesday. Around the same time, however, we will have a more bullish Sun-Jupiter aspect that is likely to boost confidence. Its effects are perhaps more likely to arrive midweek. Gold may be benefited in particular by this Sun-Jupiter aspect. The late week period looks mixed as Mercury suffers from its contact with Rahu on Thursday but the Sun teams up with Uranus which could spark more speculative interest.