Sunday, January 27, 2013

Apple falls 10% after earnings

Investors continued to see the glass as half-full last week as stocks climbed for their fourth straight week.   US stocks pushed to their highest level since 2007 as the Dow rose 1% to 13,896.   Indian stocks were only marginally higher, however, as the Sensex added 70 points closing at 20,103.  The week unfolded more or less as expected as the two Jupiter aspects did coincide with some upside at the beginning and end of the week.  The midweek Mars-Rahu aspect coincided with some weakness, although this manifested more clearly in Mumbai than in New York. 

One highlight last week was the release of the fourth quarter earnings from Apple.  While the tech giant reported record earnings, the sales were not quite was the market was hoping for and forward guidance was more cautious.  Apple stock plunged 10% on Thursday as a result.  Apple has lost more 30% of its value since its high of $702 on September 21 the day of the release of the long-awaited iPhone 5.   It has been in a sharp down trend ever since and now stands at $440.
We can see how these recent moves in Apple may have coincided with planetary patterns in the sky.  Using the IPO of Apple (12 December 1980), we can see that the all-time high occurred when the chart was largely free from affliction and reflected considerable strength.  Jupiter was transiting the benefic 5th house in Taurus and therefore aspected most of the planets in the chart at once -- the Sun, Mercury, Neptune in Scorpio, Jupiter and Saturn in Virgo and the Moon and Ketu in Capricorn in the Ascendant.  While none of the Jupiter aspects are super close, there was likely a cumulative effect of having so many key points in a chart under the influence of benefic Jupiter, the planet of optimism and expansion.   In addition, we can see that Rahu, the North Lunar Node, was exactly conjunct Uranus, the planet of sudden change and exuberance.  Uranus is well placed in the 11th house of gains so the Rahu effect would likely have allowed optimism to get carried away.  Rahu's influence is sometimes difficult to predict since it can make a good chart better and a bad chart worse.  In that sense, Rahu tends to magnify the prevailing effects in a horoscope.  Since this all-time chart was so overwhelmingly positive, it is not surprising that we should see Rahu acting a kind of catalyst and amplifier for Uranus in the house of gains and income.

Fast forward four months to the present and we can see what has changed.  Jupiter is still in Taurus but it has moved back to 12 degrees.  It is therefore forming a wider aspect with the key planets of the Sun and Moon and hence its positive effects would be somewhat lessened in this position.   And we can see that transiting Rahu has moved a few degrees and is now closely conjunct Venus.  Rahu is famous for its short-lived benefits and this definitely seems to be the case here.  Its conjunction with Rahu brought sudden riches but now it is expressing its more negative side with Venus.  The natal Venus-Uranus conjunction therefore is acting reciprocally as one would expect:  Uranus absorbed all of the positive energy away of Venus so now there isn't much left for the Rahu conjunction.   But the biggest difference here is that Saturn is about to station at 17 degrees of Libra in February.  This forms close aspects with Mercury and the nodes, Rahu and Ketu.   The Saturn station is very powerful and its 30 degree aspect with Mercury is just a few minutes from exact and hence very strong.  Mercury is therefore highly afflicted by Saturn, even if the aspect is not considered full strength by Vedic rules.  We can also see other afflictions in the mix on the day that Apple stock fell sharply.  Mars was square Rahu that day and it picked up the natal Venus almost exactly.   Transiting Venus was in the 12th house of loss just past its conjunction with malefic Mars. 

It is unclear when Apple can rebound from the current decline.  Saturn will remain in a powerful aspect with Mercury and natal Rahu for several more weeks so that could depress the stock further.  Over time,  Jupiter will again aspect all those of planets and hence it may improve sentiment over the next few months perhaps peaking in May.  After that, the next Saturn station in July could coincide with another move lower since it will form partial but exact aspects with both the Sun and Moon.   It is quite possible that Apple may hit new lows for the year at that time.

Looking ahead to this week in the markets, there are a range of short term aspects that could move sentiment.  The entry of Venus into Capricorn on Monday is a reasonably bullish influence for the early part of the week.  However, Wednesday's Sun-Saturn aspect and Friday's Mercury-Rahu aspect do not look favourable.  Even though Jupiter comes to a dead stop on Wednesday and should therefore have more upside to bestow upon investors, these bearish aspects may put a dent in the recent rally.