Sunday, April 7, 2013

Stocks fall after US jobs report; Saturn aspects Uranus

(7 April 2013)  Stocks moved lower last week on more signs that the global economy is slowing.  Friday's US jobs report seemed to aptly reflect this down trend as only 88,000 new jobs were created in March.  While the unemployment rate also fell to 7.6%, it happened for the wrong reasons as more workers gave up looking for work.   Labor force participation fell to a 34-year low.   US stocks lost about 1% while Indian stocks slumped 2%.  Gold and oil also followed the general trend lower.   This bearish outcome was in keeping with expectations as I thought last week's Mars-Rahu and Mars-Venus aspects would likely correlate with some negativity.  Perhaps not surprisingly, we did get some early week gains on Monday's Sun-Jupiter aspect.  But stocks mostly declined after that, as Wednesday's Mars-Rahu aspect coincided closely with across the board declines in most global markets.

While these short term aspects are very important in determining the ups and downs on a daily and weekly basis, the overall trend of the market is often more correlated with the movements of slower moving planets.  It is therefore the movements of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto (as well as Chiron and Sedna) which arguably are more important in understanding market direction.  Of course, I would readily admit that there are huge gaps in our knowledge of financial astrology.  Precious little of it has been properly validated by statistical analysis, although this perhaps has more to do with the lack of data. While we can attempt to see the effects of Saturn-Pluto aspects from studying the market effects of previous aspects, each iteration of the Saturn-Pluto aspect is in some sense unique since Saturn may not have aspected Pluto in this exact spot in the sky .  Also, the simultaneous position of the other planets are more or less unique and therefore there are innumerable secondary influences that simply cannot be accounted for at all times.  This data uniqueness is one reason why financial astrology must still rely heavily on interpretation and therefore must retain a healthy respect for the margin of error.  

As I noted last week, there is a relative dearth of Jupiter aspects in the next month that would seem to increase the probability of a declining market.  In addition, we can see that Saturn will form aspects with several planets.  Saturn turned retrograde in February while in aspect with Pluto and this was one possible correlate for the downturn in emerging markets such as India.   Saturn is now in aspect with Uranus and will continue to move backwards in the sky until it stations in July in a near-exact aspect with Neptune.   While there are always going to be exceptions to the rule, it is useful to think about these Saturn aspects with distant planets as potential negatives for collective sentiment and hence more likely to correlate with market declines. The presence of these Saturn aspects and the relative absence of any major Jupiter aspects offers some evidence against the notion that Ben Bernanke's bubble will keep pushing stocks higher in the near term. 

This week looks like a real mixture of short term aspects.  For this reason, I would be fairly agnostic about calling the market direction.  There is a close conjunction of Venus, Mars and the Sun in the last degrees of sidereal Pisces early in the week.  Given the presence of the Moon amidst this cluster, there is some more reason to expect optimism to prevail.  Wednesday's Moon-Venus conjunction is also quite bullish on paper and even occurs just as Venus enters Aries, typically another favorable indication.  However, we should note that Saturn will form minor aspects to Mercury and Venus around the same time, so we cannot get too comfortable with our expectation of gains.  It could all easily come apart at any time.  The late week period looks somewhat more negative as Mars enters Aries.

Transits for Mumbai Wednesday 10 April 2013