Saturday, April 9, 2011

Stocks flat on Sun-Jupiter; Mercury-Jupiter upcoming

Stocks were mostly unchanged last week as optimism from improved corporate earnings was offset by concern over rising oil prices and the stalemate in Libya. After pushing to new highs for the year midweek, the Dow settled at 12,380 while the S&P500 finished at 1328. It was a similar story in Mumbai as Indian stocks pushed higher early in the week only to lose the momentum by week's end. The BSE-Sensex closed at 19,451 with the Nifty ending at 5842.

This flat result was not wholly unexpected as I noted we would see both positive and negative aspects in play. The cluster of planets in the Sun-Jupiter-Saturn alignment made outcomes more difficult to predict. US markets peaked with Wednesday's Sun-Jupiter conjunction while India peaked Monday, albeit with some intraday rally attempts in midweek that failed to hold. (Wednesday actually marked the intraweek high.) I thought we might see more downside early on around the Mars-Uranus conjunction but aspect passed uneventfully. It is interesting to note that many world markets made some significant highs last week around this alignment. In the case of the Dow, it made a new high for 2011 while India's Sensex pushed to a new high in this post-correction rebound. Whether these highs will hold for any length of time remains to be seen, but given the importance of the planets involved in this alignment, it adds just a little more evidence to the bearish view that more downside may be around the corner. Market reversals will sometimes occur near multi-planet alignments not unlike what we saw last week.

This week begins with a conjunction of Mercury and Jupiter. Since both planets are considered positive influences, the most likely outcome is a rise. The conjunction is exact on Monday, although it is possible that the positive influence may not be felt until the Moon enters Cancer on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Moon may be strengthened by the aspect it receives from Jupiter at this time. Indian markets are closed Tuesday and Thursday, so that may complicate matters somewhat. The Sun leaves the friendly confines of sidereal Pisces late Wednesday and enters Aries. The Sun's transit of Pisces (March 15 - April 13) has been quite beneficial for the market this time around due to the presence of Jupiter, Mercury and Mars in Pisces. This has created a hub of positive energy which has correlated fairly closely with rising prices. Once the Sun enters Aries, some of this positive influence may be lost.

The other thing worth noting is that the Sun will also be in aspect with Rahu (North Lunar Node) at the end of the week. Rahu is a more unpredictable planet so this aspect may increase the likelihood of declines. While gains are still possible under this combination, it is not a reliably bullish factor.