Saturday, July 23, 2011

Stocks rise on EU bailout; US debt deal uncertain

Stocks generally moved higher last week as the EU attempted to arrest the ongoing debt contagion by agreeing to a second Greek bailout. In New York, the Dow was ahead by almost 2% closing at 12,681 while the S&P500 finished at 1345. Indian markets followed suit as the BSE-Sensex moved above a key resistance level closing at 18,722 and the Nifty finished at 5633. Not surprisingly, Monday's Mercury-Rahu aspect turned out to be bearish across the board. Buyers came back on Tuesday as the market reversed higher near the entry of Mercury into Leo. This was largely in keeping with expectations as I thought the midweek would be more positive. Sentiment continued to stay mostly strong all the way into Friday, however, as the potential trouble from the Mars-Ketu conjunction did not manifest until after markets had closed for the week, i.e. Boehner suddenly ended debt talks with Obama and the Norway attacks.

The US debt ceiling talks appear to be going right down to the wire as Republican Speaker John Boehner walked away from negotiations with President Obama late Friday. If a deal is not reached by the August 2 deadline, the US will default on its debt since it could no longer borrow enough money to cover its expenses. Nobody really expects this to happen, but what is unknown is the kind of deal that will be struck and who will gain political advantage. The political posturing is likely more important here as both parties are vying to make their case for the 2012 election cycle.

Since neither Jupiter nor Saturn are especially dominant in the sky right now, it seems unlikely that the Republicans will get their way and force large spending cuts. Such austerity measures are more symbolic of a strong Saturn but we don't seem to have that here as Saturn is moving forward at its normal speed through sidereal Virgo and is not forming any significant aspects with other planets. This suggests that either a compromise short term solution will be found or Obama's preference for a blend of cuts and increased taxes will carry the day. Obama's chart looks quite stressed at the moment so it seems unlikely that he will win his version of the deal in the coming days. Of course, the other problem with this debt ceiling deadline is that Mercury will turn retrograde on the same day. It's a peculiar coincidence that suggests that the deal may not be final or some of the details may be disputed after the fact by one of the parties.

This week sees Mars enter sidereal Gemini on Monday and Tuesday. This excess of Mars energy can be a disruptive influence which may increase the odds of declines early in the week. But the mood is likely to turn positive by midweek as the Sun forms a alignment with Uranus and Pluto on Wednesday and Thursday. The late week period also features a supportive configuration involving Mercury, Venus and Neptune. So while we could see some downside in the first half of the week, the chances are fairly good that the subsequent rebound will more than make for it.