Saturday, May 14, 2011

Stocks flat after Jupiter-Rahu; Sun-Jupiter this week

Stocks were mostly unchanged last week as renewed concerns over Greece were offset by improving economic data. In New York, the Dow edged lower closing at 12,595 while the S&P500 finished the week at 1337. Mumbai was similarly indecisive as the Sensex ended pretty close to where it started at 18,531 and the Nifty following suit at 5544. While it wasn't very exciting, the end result was not hugely unexpected. I was not wrong in thinking there could be more upside leading into Wednesday's triple conjunction of Mercury, Venus and Jupiter. Most global markets rose in the first half of the week as the positive influence from these planets overshadowed any potential bearishness from the aspect with Rahu. Significantly, this affected most asset classes including oil, gold and silver as commodities also rallied back from the previous week's sell-off. Indian markets did not participate in the early week rise perhaps because of the more negative implications of rising oil prices. As expected, stocks and commodities were mostly bearish in the aftermath of the triple conjunction as the US Dollar gained more ground.

Now that the Jupiter-Rahu aspect is behind us, we may well wonder what lies ahead. This aspect has highlighted the dangers of excessive speculation and we have seen commodities decline sharply in recent weeks. Its growing separation suggests that the unwinding of the "risk trade" out of commodities may become less important here. While the gradual reduction in the negative Rahu influence may free up Jupiter to become more optimistic and bullish, we should also be watching for the possible increase in Saturn's influence. Saturn will end its retrograde cycle on June 13 as it returns to normal forward motion in the sky. At this time, Saturn will also form a fairly close square aspect with Pluto. Saturn-Pluto aspects are often negative in their effects as pessimism over economic growth prospects can take over. Saturn also represents debts and losses so it is possible that the problem of indebtedness may become more pronounced. Worries over Greece and the Eurozone have re-surfaced in the past week and this may well foreshadow more concerns in the weeks ahead.

This week actually features some positive aspects, especially in the early part of the week. Monday's Sun-Jupiter aspect is complemented by a very nice Mercury-Venus-Neptune aspect which should increase the likelihood of gains in the first half of the week. Wednesday's Mercury-Venus-Uranus alignment should add another layer of optimism to the proceedings. Of course, the market could still decline in spite of these bullish short term aspects as we are in the shadowy, leeward side of the Jupiter-Rahu aspect. Nonetheless, declines may be further delayed until the short term picture becomes more difficult. The end of the week is perhaps a better example of this tense energy as Mercury catches up with Mars while in aspect to Pluto.