Saturday, March 5, 2011

Stocks rise with Venus; Mercury-Uranus this week

US Stocks were mostly unchanged last week as the market digested the implications of the February jobs report against a backdrop of an emerging civil war in Libya. Although the Dow did enjoy some midweek gains, Friday's selloff left it only marginally higher than last week at 12,169 while the S&P500 finished at 1321. Indian stocks fared much better rising 4% as the balanced approach of the latest Union Budget was warmly received. The Sensex closed at 18,840 while the Nifty ended the week at 5538. Gold and oil continued to benefit from the Libya crisis as gold made new highs over $1420 and oil ended the week over $100 for the first time since 2008.

In last week's post, I had suggested that the early week Venus-Uranus-Neptune aspect would likely tilt the market towards the bulls, especially in India. This was certainly the case in Mumbai as Monday was higher and then Tuesday saw the Sensex soar 600 points. US markets were less reactive to this Venus influence although stocks did rise on Monday. Tuesday's selloff in New York anticipated the bearish midweek Mercury-Saturn aspect. I had also suggested that the late week period would generally be weaker on Friday's New Moon. While India was merely flat on Friday, US markets sold off fairly significantly as the over-hyped jobs report disappointed many investors.

As I have noted previously, the current geopolitical turmoil in the Middle East is an appropriate reflection of the Rahu-Uranus square aspect that became exact as the end of last week. This volatile pairing of Rahu (greed, deception) and Uranus (change, freedom) has been drawing closer to its exact aspect over the past few weeks. This is perhaps one astrological factor behind the recent instability in financial markets and the soaring price of oil. But now that the aspect will begin to separate, we should look for a possible shift in this dynamic. Of course, the weakening of this Rahu-Uranus aspect does not necessarily mean that we can quickly move back to the status quo ante. Rather, it seems more likely that markets will move into a new phase. The initial shock phase is therefore likely winding down and we may be entering the next period of adjustment.

I continue to underline the importance of the approaching Jupiter-Saturn opposition on March 28-29. As in economics perhaps, there are no guarantees in astrology. Where human behaviour is the object of analysis, there can only be probabilities in the best of times. And yet we know that the interaction of these two giants of the solar system often brings about significant market moves. Sometimes these aspects correspond with approximate low points, as happened in May 2010 after the Flash Crash. In other situations, it may correspond with a trend reversal lower as Saturn's pessimism finally asserts itself over the enthusiastic entreaties of Jupiter. And still other situations will see very few immediate effects. In most cases, however, this coming together of positive and negative influences has major implications for human psychology and hence for stock prices.

While we move one step closer to the Jupiter-Saturn opposition -- now just separated by 6 degrees -- there is the prospect for more gains on the midweek conjunction of Mercury and Uranus.
Mercury (trading, commerce) and Uranus (risk, speed) are usually a bullish combination, especially in the day or two leading up to the conjunction. On this occasion, there is likely to be an increase in urgency and perhaps volatility also due to the co-presence of the Rahu aspect. While the week could well begin bearishly (perhaps more likely in India), the midweek period could well see stocks more higher. The late week period would seem to be less positive for stocks, even if this translates into further gains for oil and gold.