Saturday, September 10, 2011

EU troubles take Euro and stocks lower; Mercury-Jupiter offers some hope

It was a bad week for Europe. A member of the European Central Bank resigned for undisclosed reasons, while new rumours swirled of a Greek default that prompted Germany to plan contingencies in the event of any ensuing financial crisis. The market reflected a growing faithlessness as credit default swaps between major private commercial banks soared to new highs and the Euro broke below the 1.40 level to a new 6-month low. Not surprisingly, global stock markets didn't like the sound of any of this and retreated late in the week after posting gains earlier in the week. In New York, the Dow lost 2% closing at 10,992 while the S&P500 finished at 1154. Indian markets fared somewhat better as the BSE Sensex edged slightly higher to 16,866 while the Nifty ended the week at 5059.

This week unfolded largely as expected as I thought we would see some late week selling on the Mercury-Neptune aspect and Mars' entry into sidereal Cancer. We saw declines on both Thursday and Friday when these key influences were in play. As expected, the early week proved to be somewhat more bullish as Mercury's entry in Leo on Monday may have lifted sentiment. This was perhaps more in evident in Mumbai, as buyers did not appear in New York until Wednesday's session.

The situation in Europe looks like it will rankle markets for a while longer until some satisfactory solution is found for the debt crisis. As I have noted, the Euro chart is very troubled these days. While the German court decision was essentially a non-event last week, it is not at all clear sailing for Europe. I continue to believe that the Euro will fall much further in the months ahead and this should be a drag on stock prices. This should enhance the appeal of the US Dollar as safe haven. As a result, gold and other commodities are likely to come under more selling pressure in the weeks to come.

We may be witnessing the beginning of the end of the Euro as cracks are deepening between the core members (Germany, France) and the less solvent periphery (Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy). From an astrological perspective, this apparent crumbling of a previously solid edifice is in keeping with the symbolism of the dominant planets in the sky -- Saturn and Ketu (South Lunar Node). Saturn represents structure, order and tradition. When on its best behaviour, Ketu is more of a spiritual influence that can engender feelings of union with the whole and self-revelation. But this energy does not translate well into the mundane world of business and finance. As a result, Ketu is more often associated with notions of re-organization and change. When these two energies align, they can describe situations where structures and organizations have to make major adjustments. A period of painful instability and change is common. The aspect is exact on September 23 but due to the relatively slow velocity of both planets, we can consider them to be in aspect for the next few weeks.

This week hay hinge on the bullish potential of a Mercury-Jupiter aspect that is exact on Wednesday and early Thursday. Both of these planets are positive influences, and previous aspects involving Jupiter have produced solid gains in recent weeks around the time of its retrograde station on Aug 30. But Jupiter may be losing some of its power as it picks up speed, so the upside could be fairly limited here. Venus enters sidereal Virgo over the weekend, so that is a background negative influence that may exert some influence over Monday's session. The late week looks more vulnerable to declines as Mars forms an aspect with Neptune on Thursday and Friday.