Saturday, November 9, 2013

Twitter launches IPO under auspicious stars; stock jumps 73% on first day

(9 November 2013)  The big news in the financial world this week was the launch of the Twitter IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.  Twitter (TWTR) became a publicly traded company on Thursday, November 7 at 10.49 a.m. when the first trade was completed at a price of $45.10.  This represented a stunning 70% increase over the IPO offering price of $26.  The Twitter launch had been the most anticipated IPO since Facebook went public last May.   Unlike Facebook, however, Twitter's massive stock offering went off without a hitch.  Despite the impressive gain on the first day, the stock actually slipped 7% in Friday's trade and closed at $42. What does the future hold for Twitter, both as a stock and as a company?  Let's take a look at the first trade chart. 

Ideally, the first trade chart should show two things: 1) it should reflect the basic nature of the company in question and 2) it should provide information on the probable trajectory of the company as evidenced through the ups and downs of its stock price.   As we can see from the Twitter chart, there are some very appropriate placements given Twitter's role as a computer-based communication company.  Mercury, the planet of communication, sits almost precisely on the Midheaven (i.e. the unequal 10th house cusp) at the highest point of the sky.  Mercury is in a close conjunction with Rahu, the North Lunar Node.  Rahu is a planet associated with research and innovation and the breaking of boundaries, especially those that connected with tradition and the status quo.  The Mercury-Rahu pairing is an excellent pairing for any kind of technology-based enterprise. 

But we can also see it is more widely conjunct with malefics Saturn and the Sun.  While nominally malefic in nature, both of these planets may actually be favourable for Mercury since both the Sun and Saturn tend to do well in the 11th house of gains as is the case here.  Moreover, Saturn is exalted in Libra and hence it should be seen as a steadying influence as it pertains to gains and revenue.  Saturn rules the 2nd house of income so its placement in the 11th house forms a very positive wealth-producing Dhana Yoga. 

The 11th house of the Twitter chart is made even more powerful by virtue of the placement of its ruler Venus (Libra) which is placed in the 1st house with Pluto and the Moon and opposite Jupiter.  Pluto actually rises closest to the Ascendant and may represent Twitter's massive size as a company as well as its ability to bend and reshape reality to its formidable will.  Twitter has engendered a transformation in social networking and social media as its 140 character model of communication is revolutionizing the way people think.  Pluto (power, the ability to coerce) is made more effective here because it is associated with benefic planets such as the Moon (the people), Venus (happiness, fun) and Jupiter (expansion, abundance).  Pluto is involved in a tight square aspect with Uranus, another planet associated with technology and innovation.  The placement of this Pluto-Uranus combination so close to the Ascendant suggests to me that Twitter will have a hugely revolutionizing effect on communications.  This has already occurred to some extent, of course, and the placement is an apt reflection of that fact.

Not only is the first trade chart a near-perfect symbolic embodiment of what Twitter does, but it seems to be a very auspicious chart also.  The 1st house contains benefics Moon and Venus and is aspected by the 1st lord Jupiter.   Jupiter also aspects all those planets in the 11th house of gains, most closely with the Sun (profile, stature) and Saturn (authority, organization).  It is a very powerful chart that seems to support the idea that Twitter will continue to grow.  To be sure, some questions remains about the possible negative impact of Saturn's 3rd house aspect on the Ascendant and the Moon.  Could Saturn's influence somehow reflect some potentially controlling or limiting aspect of the company's business?  Saturn is often symbolic of attempts to organize reality and with both the Moon and the Ascendant on the receiving end of this aspect, there may be problems along these lines such as privacy issues.  Also Ketu aspects the Ascendant quite closely (within one degree) so this could represent a certain amount of uncertainty or upset in the future.  The Ketu influence is often hard to pin down as it can manifest in many ways both positive and negative.  Like Rahu, Ketu is associated with change and adaptability.  Given Twitter's focus on quick and fast-paced communication, I tend to think the Ketu-Ascendant aspect may only reflect its nature as part of the quickly accelerating world of social media.  Whether or not the popularity of Twitter will suffer down the line is much less clear.  Nonetheless, Ketu's default setting is as a malefic should give investors some concern. 

The chart is initially running the Venus-Moon dasha period until early 2014.  The Moon is the dussthana 8th house lord in the first house and is aspected by Saturn and Ketu (both malefics) while conjunct Pluto (neutral, but possibly malefic) and Venus (benefic).  This suggests that Twitter may experience some growing pains in the next few months which could be reflected in some turbulence in the share price.  Although under pressure, this dasha period may not produce that much downside since the transits do not actually look that bad.   Some declines are perhaps more likely as transiting Rahu conjoins natal Mercury (9 Libra) in January.  This will also occur at approximately the same time that transiting Ketu (8 Aries) aspects Venus (8 Sagittarius).  

The subsequent Venus-Mars period from May 2014 until July 2015 also presents some caveats.  Mars is a malefic and hence it can be a little unreliable to deliver real growth in earnings and hence, in the share price.  Also, Mars is in Leo in the 9th house which seems weakened, especially since the Sun is fallen in Libra with Saturn.  It's a mixed picture which opens up the possibility for some difficulty for Twitter.  While it may continue to grow in popularity, I am not at all certain that the stock will rise in value during this period.  It's possible, but the outlook is unclear.  Therefore, investors should be cautious.  While the strong natal chart suggests that Twitter is probably a good long term investment, there is some possibility of volatility in the early going in 2014 and 2015.

Astrology isn't foolproof of course but first trade charts can provide some useful insights into future price patterns.  In my analysis of the Facebook IPO, I suggested that the stock could suffer a decline in the second half of 2012 and into 2013 during its difficult Ketu-Saturn dasha period.  This is not a bad summation of what actually happened as Facebook declined immediately after its launch in May 2012.  It hit bottom in September 2012 when it traded for $17 a share and experienced a partial recovery after that.  It only regained its original IPO price of $38 in August and has rallied higher since then topping out around $50 in recent weeks.  I had suggested that the stock was more likely to suffer during this Ketu-Saturn period from September 2012 until November 2013. So while the analysis was certainly not perfect, it still offered some insight about the likelihood of significant weakness in Facebook in the year following its launch.

Stocks were generally weaker last week as investors feared that the improving US economic data would mean that the Fed would be more likely to taper its stimulus program.  In the upside down world of today's finance, all that good news was actually bad news.  The Dow managed to trade a little higher on the week closing at 15,761 although gold and crude oil fell again.  Indian stocks also declined as emerging markets are more sensitive to the "hot money" created by the Fed's money printing.  The Sensex lost 2% closing at 20,666.  Although I thought last Wednesday's Sun-Saturn conjunction would likely cast some kind of pall over the markets, I thought we might have seen a little more downside than we did.

The planets this week look somewhat more favourable.  Bullish Jupiter aspects the Sun on Tuesday while Venus aligns with Pluto and Uranus on Wednesday and Thursday.  While these aspects don't necessarily translate into gains, they do load the cosmic dice for the bulls.   Mercury returns to direct motion on the weekend while in close aspect with Neptune.  This may create some confusion early in the week (Monday?) which may compel some investors to abandon their positions.