Saturday, May 21, 2011

Stocks slip on Mercury-Mars; Saturn in focus this week

Stocks trended lower last week as renewed worries over Greece offset positive earnings reports. In New York, the Dow fell less than 1% closing at 12,512 while the S&P500 ended the week at 1333. It was much the same story in Mumbai as the Sensex lost 200 points closing at 18,326 with the Nifty finishing the week at 5486. I thought we might have seen more early week upside on the Sun-Jupiter and Mercury-Venus-Neptune alignments but it seems that the market is still working through the after effects of that Jupiter-Rahu aspect from early May. In addition, a shadow Saturn aspect to this alignment generated more caution than I had anticipated. We finally got a reversal higher midweek as Mercury and Venus teamed up with Uranus. As expected, Friday's Mercury-Mars conjunction was bearish, although this only manifested later in the day in Europe and the US, after Indian markets had closed.

Not surprisingly, we saw more developments in the Eurozone debt problem as Fitch downgraded Greece's debt another two notches while Germany showed greater reluctance to cut blank cheques for their spendthrift southerly neighbours. This appears to be conforming to the strengthening of Saturn here as the focus shifts from speculation and inflation (Jupiter-Rahu) to debt and recession (Saturn). Saturn symbolizes caution and pessimism so it tends to be associated with economic contraction and declining prices. In that sense, it is the necessary antidote to inflation. In other words, Saturn is deflationary in its effects. When Saturn is strong and afflicted, prices tend to fall. Saturn tends to strengthen around close aspects with other planets and when its velocity is reduced near its stations. Saturn is due to station next on June 13 when it ends its retrograde cycle and return to its normal forward motion. At that time, it will form a fairly close square aspect with Pluto. So on that basis, it is tempting to think that the markets will stay weak until that time.

This week will be an important test of this approaching Saturn energy. Early in the week, there will be a triple conjunction of Mercury, Venus and Mars. Mars is a potential troublemaker here so that may increase in the chances of lower prices. But Saturn will also form a close 150 degree aspect to this triumvirate so is another potentially bearish influence. If we do get a decline into midweek, then that will provide additional evidence that Saturn is strengthening and would boost the odds for a larger correction that lasts into that mid-June station.