Saturday, September 24, 2011

Twist and sell: stocks plunge after Fed on Saturn-Ketu aspect

Twist and sell is more like it. Markets tanked worldwide last week as Fed Chair Ben Bernanke took away the Fed's punch bowl of easy money. Instead of the much hoped for QE3 stimulus, the Fed offered up a more fiscally prudent Operation Twist where short term bonds were exchanged for long term notes as a way of keeping interest rates low. This was bad news for stocks and commodities which had come to rely on the inflationary policies of the Federal Reserve. When all was said and done, Dow declined 6% closing at 10,771 while the S&P500 finished at 1136. In Mumbai, the Sensex was down 4% closing at 16,162 with the Nifty ending the week at 4867. Oil and gold also sold off up to 10% as the minimalist Fed program and prospect of another recession undermined their value as inflation hedges.

This bearish outcome was very much in keeping with expectations as I thought that the exact Saturn-Ketu aspect would enforce caution and austerity on the market. Saturn is all about restraint and conservative action so there was not much chance that Bernanke would announce QE3. It was therefore not surprising that the market declined on this aspect. Monday was also lower on Mercury's passing alignment to the Saturn-Ketu aspect. The late week Mars-Uranus aspect acted as a trigger for the release of the reservoir of pessimism and disappointment that often accompanies Saturn transits. For the past several months, I had noted the likelihood of a major decline around this aspect at this time, so it was heartening to see how well financial astrology can work. Since it is very much a probabilistic science, not all aspects will play out as expected, but knowing the relevant planetary influences can provide an additional level of insight.

Although the Saturn-Ketu aspect is now separating, we will likely remain under the influence of bearish Saturn this week. Actually the early week offers some possibility of some upside as the Sun-Mercury-Uranus pattern could boost risk taking. But Tuesday's New Moon may also be a critical turning point as the Mars aspect to the Sun-Mercury conjunction appears to ramp up agitation and frustration going into midweek . The Venus-Saturn conjunction on Thursday may well bring more downside. The high number of aspects this week would appear to increase the size and speed of price movements. Given the number of malefic planets involved (Mars, Saturn, Ketu), the most likely outcome is for more steep declines. Just where and when this will all end is hard to say. The bullish Jupiter-Pluto aspect in the second half of October may provide some relief for beleaguered financial markets.