Saturday, June 11, 2011

Stocks fall into Saturn-Pluto; Lunar eclipse due Wednesday

Stocks slumped again last week as the Fed Chair Ben Bernanke ruled out any additional stimulus plan (QE3?) for the foreseeable future. In other words, the buffet is closed and there will be no more free lunch. In New York, the Dow lost almost 2% closing at 11,951 while the S&P500 finished the week at 1270. In keeping with recent trends, Indian stocks fared somewhat better, however, as the Sensex slipped by less than 1% closing at 18,268 while the Nifty ended the week at 5485. While the early week period looked a little shaky with the Mercury-Saturn aspect, I thought we would have more of a bounce later on as the Jupiter-Neptune aspect tightened. As it turned out, only Thursday got the benefit of the Jupiter bounce in the US market. Friday's decline corresponded fairly closely with the approaching bearish Mars-Rahu aspect.

So this is still very much a Saturnian market. Saturn's portfolio of pessimism, loss, and recession is very much front and centre here as fears about inflation have been pushed into the background. This plausibly reflects the current planetary geometry quite well as inflationary and growth-oriented Jupiter lost some influence in the wake of its early May aspect with Rahu. In its place, Saturn has strengthened as it prepares to reverse its direction and square Pluto this week. As we know, a slow Saturn is a powerful Saturn. And a powerful Saturn tends to focus public attention more on the intractability of the Eurozone debt crisis, the flagging US recovery, and the unsustainability of emerging market expansion in countries like India and China.

This week could bring some important new developments that shift financial thinking in significant ways. Saturn ends its 4-month long retrograde cycle on Sunday night and forms its tightest aspect with Pluto at that time. This is generally a difficult combination, although Saturn's change in direction from backwards to forwards can mark an analogous change in sentiment. However, there are a number of difficult aspects in the mix here that suggests more downside in the near term. Mercury conjoins Ketu on Monday while Mars forms an aspect with Mercury on Tuesday. Of course, Wednesday has a big asterisk beside it because the lunar eclipse occurs in the afternoon just after the end of the trading in the US. There is a lot of celestial traffic here and it should produce some noteworthy moves both in the markets and perhaps also on an institutional and policy level. Eclipses are all about interruption of the status quo so trend reversals are somewhat more likely at this time. The late week period features some short term Mercury aspects that seem fairly benign so perhaps that increases the likelihood of gains by Friday.