Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year's Horoscope 2014

(29 December 2013)  As we turn the page on another year, it's time to check the New Year's horoscope to get a glimpse of what may be in store for 2014.  While there are many methods for forecasting the year ahead, I like to examine the position of the planets when the clock strikes midnight on the 1st of January.  Unlike the Pisces New Moon chart in March or the Sun's ingress into tropical Capricorn in December, there is no astronomical significance to this moment in time.  However, observation from past New Year's charts suggest that there may be some suggestive correspondences between the planetary map for midnight 1 January and the events and mood of the collective human consciousness during the year ahead.  In that sense, its significance may be related to the manifestation of the collective consciousness of humanity when the calendar turns.

Some previous New Year's charts have left an unambiguous footprint on the year in question.  The 1989 chart highlighted a very hopeful Mercury-Jupiter aspect the year the Berlin Wall crumbled and Soviet-style communism ended.  Saturn (traditions, structure) was also tightly aspected by Ketu (South Node), the planet that erases boundaries.  The 1963 chart was marked by a very close aspect from Mars to Venus (violence/damage to the beloved) as later that year President John F. Kennedy would be assassinated in Dallas sending shock waves around the world.  Mercury, the 10th house lord (leaders) would also be conjunct malefic Ketu (South Lunar Node) and Saturn. 

The 2001 chart hinted at the 9/11 attacks as Mars was in close square aspect with Neptune ("destructive deception") while Saturn formed a square with Venus ("happiness lost").  Finally, the 2008 January 1st chart featured an alignment of Mars with Pluto and Rahu (North Lunar Node) ("manipulation and distortion causing harm")  as the world would be plunged into the financial meltdown later that year.   Saturn, the planet of loss, was positioned very close to the middle of the 12th house, a house which is most associated with losses.

Putting it charitably, this year's chart does not fill me with optimism (see below).  Mars rises a few degrees from the Ascendant in Washington, DC in close opposition to Uranus and in square aspect to no less than the Moon, Sun, Pluto and Mercury.  This is an incredibly tense and potentially violent alignment of energies.  Mars represents harm and damage, often as a result of violence or sudden events.  Uranus tends to act as an energy multiplier with a tendency towards quick or revolutionary changes.  When it is aligned with a positive planet, Uranus can indicate auspicious scientific breakthroughs, as when man landed on the Moon in 1969 when Jupiter was conjunct Uranus in the 1 January 1969 chart.  The combination of Mars with Uranus seems to indicate either an natural disaster such as an earthquake, or some significant military-type attack which has violent consequences.  Pluto's involvement in the pattern ratchets up the potential for destruction and also introduces some notion of politics and manipulation into the equation. 

The fact that both the Moon and Sun are closely intertwined in this alignment suggests that many people will be affected either directly or indirectly.  The Moon and Sun are planets which have a general association with mankind as a whole as well as the collective mood.  The Sun also has associations with governments and its leaders.  For this reason, this powerful Mars alignment may reflect more civil unrest than usual which causes some larger governments to be overthrown.  Obviously, this happens to some extent every year, but this planetary pattern suggests there will be more of it this year and it will effect more people than usual. 

So what kind of event could this pattern actually represent?  It could be any number of things including a major destructive earthquake, volcano and/or armed conflict.  With Mercury so closely conjunct Pluto here, there could be serious economic harm as a result of the violent event.  It may also bode poorly for the global economy in its own right as Mars was strongly implicated in the 2008 meltdown.  It's prominence in this 2014 New Year's chart opens up that potential door again. 

Ketu (South Lunar Node) also participates in this alignment at arm's length through its trine with the the Moon and Sun.  The fact that Moon's nodes fall so close to the same degree as the Ascendant adds to the potential for turbulence  in 2014. A more hopeful interpretation may instead focus on Ketu's connection with transcendent beliefs and renunciatory practices as found in many ascetic spiritual traditions.  2014 may be witness in a growth in this kind of ascetic or anti-capitalist faith traditions.  Pope Francis has already created some waves in this respect in 2013 by arguing passionately for a return to human values against the unfeeling logic of the global economic system.  The strong Ketu in this chart suggests his message may continue to gain an audience. 

More positively, we can see that Jupiter in Gemini will aspect all of those 4th house planets in Sagittarius.   This will likely mitigate some of the worst implications of the Mars-Uranus-Pluto framework, although I suspect it will do little to prevent some painful collective events from occurring.  Jupiter's aspect is closest to Mercury (18 Sagittarius), so that argues for more technological innovation that will benefit mankind.  Given all the unstable and disruptive Mars energy around this year, we will probably need it!

Financial Markets Update

Meanwhile, financial markets generally moved higher in the Christmas holiday period.   The Dow posted another all-time record high as it hit 16,500.  India's Sensex also climbed back above the 21,000 level.  Reflecting the generally optimistic tone, crude oil moved above $100 for the first time since October.  While I thought we could see some early week gains, the absence of any late week trouble from the Mars influence was a little surprising. 

This week Mars gets another kick at the can.  As we have just discussed, the New Year's chart (Wednesday) looks quite afflicted.  While it is possible the stock market could shake off this kind of negative alignment for a while, it seems more likely that market sentiment will suffer at some point along the way this week.  Further gains would therefore seem more unlikely. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The significance of Venus retrograde

(22 December 2013)  Venus turned retrograde yesterday at 5 degrees of sidereal Capricorn and now begins its 40-day journey backwards through the sky.  Venus goes retrograde about once every 18 months and marks a time when the significations of the planet may enjoy a special resonance in our lives. Venus is usually associated with love, women, art, beauty, money and pleasurable activities such as hobbies, recreation and socializing. 

Venus (Sanskrit: Shukra) is believed to be somewhat more powerful during its retrograde cycle because it is moving more slowly than usual.  As a general rule, slower moving planets are stronger in their effects.  A slow moving retrograde Venus therefore often coincides with a time when its areas of life become more important to us or enjoy a special poignancy.  Friendships may become more meaningful through a sharing of feelings or ideas; a relationship may become better understood as its inner dynamic is revealed; artistic pursuits assume a greater significance in life such as through seeing a brilliant art history documentary or listening to a well known piece of music with fresh ears. The retrograde process implies a certain sense of reviewing or re-assessing some of these Venusian elements in our life. 

Of course, it can still be an excellent time for new social and artistic experiences but these may be interpreted through a retroactive lens.  Someone we meet for the first time reminds us of an old friend, or a movie we see provides new insight on some dimension of ourselves which gives us a greater sense of purpose or belonging.  Venus is less about gaining knowledge and more about experiencing togetherness and beauty.  In that sense, Venus is the planet of happiness and joy whether it derives from the communion of friendship or group membership or the emotional stimulation we can get from the aesthetic realm -- a film, a book, a painting.  The artistic side of Venus may be witnessed with others or alone.  Even if experienced by oneself, the enjoyment of the aesthetic form implies a relationship with the artist and with the community from which the work of art was produced.   At its core, Venus is the planet that puts us in touch with the wider human group and reminds us of our inherent interdependence.

Whether or not the current Venus retrograde cycle will affect you directly depends on your personal horoscope.  Usually, the Venus retrograde period will tend to have more impact on people who were born with important planets along the path of the cycle.  For example,. Venus turned retrograde at 5 Capricorn and will transit back to 19 degrees of Sagittarius by 31 January when it returns to direct motion.  If you were born between 3 January and 19 January, then this Venus retrograde period will likely resonate more strongly with you because Venus will conjoin your Sun at some point in its retrograde cycle.   That is because the Sun is situated at 19 Sagittarius on 3 January and at about 5 Capricorn on 19 January. 

To a lesser extent, we can also say that if you were born between 3 May and 19 May, Venus may be more prominent in your life during this 40-day cycle.  In that case, Venus will form a five sign/120 degree aspect with your natal Sun.  This will tend to create a greater prominence for relationships, happiness and the enjoyment of social situations.  The same angular relationship will exist for people born between 4 July and 21 July, as well as 5 September and 22 September.   Generally speaking, the positive effects of Venus will be more keenly felt by people born near the beginning or end of each time period.  To stretch the effect even further, we could even say that people born around the 3rd to 6th of each month and the 19th to 22nd of each month are somewhat more likely to have stronger Venusian experiences in the next five to six weeks during this retrograde period. 

I should point out, however, that we are only considering the position of the Sun since it has a clear relationship with the calendar.  But the position of the Moon and the Ascendant are even more important for understanding the potential role of Venus in our life during its retrograde cycle.  However, this can only be known by examining the personal horoscope of each individual. 

In financial circles, the symbolism of Venus is related to money, especially the spending and enjoyment of money.  Last week, the US Federal Reserve announced it would begin to taper its controversial quantitative easing (QE) stimulus program as the US economy is showing more signs of improvement.   Perhaps reflecting the growing strength of Venus as it slowed ahead of its retrograde station, investors generally welcomed the news as stocks rose across the board reflecting a renewed optimism about the future.  The Dow moved to new all-time highs above 16,200 while the Sensex again moved above 21,000.  Gold declined sharply, however, as the Fed's move suggested that the inflationary risk to its money printing program was diminishing.  Gold briefly traded below $1200 before closing just over that level. 

I had been fairly uncertain about the outcome last week given the mixed aspects in play.  However, I did note that the Venus retrograde station formed a somewhat tense t-square alignment in the New York Stock Exchange horoscope.  This may not have coincided with an immediate decline but it did suggest that the days following the Venus station on 21 December were more likely to be somewhat anxious. 

This week we will see what, if any, are the effects of Venus Rx on the financial markets.  On Monday, Mercury aligns with Venus so it is possible we could see higher prices for many assets including stocks and gold.  However, tension and caution may rise as the week progresses as Mars aspects Uranus and then Pluto. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Fed considers QE taper again as Venus turns retrograde

(15 December 2013)  To taper or not to taper?  That is the question -- again!  With another Fed meeting slated for this week, the never-ending debate about whether the Fed will reduce its QE program is front and center once again.  With the employment data is showing more strength lately, will Bernanke and Co. finally begin to reduce their bond purchases which has been one of the main drivers of the current market rally?  Or is the Fed still concerned about a possible negative market reaction which would push interest rates higher as happened in May and June when Bernanke first floated the prospect of a taper?  Opinion seems split on whether the Fed will have the courage to finally start to wind down its stimulus program.  Recent weakness in the markets reflects the fact that some investors are reducing their holdings in anticipation of a taper.  A QE taper will reduce the liquidity and will likely cause stocks to fall.  How much stocks may decline is unknowable, although it may depend on the wording in Wednesday's 2 p.m. statement.  A more hawkish tone would suggest that the days of easy money are numbered and that the Fed is increasingly wary of the risks of an asset bubble.  Such a tone could hit stocks hard.  More dovish talk, however, and a steady-as-she-goes message would likely push stocks higher, or at least allow them to maintain their current lofty levels. 

What do the planets suggest?  Last week's planetary patterns did seem to fit market moves fairly well as markets generally rose in the early part of the week on the Sun-Jupiter-Saturn alignment.   I was also correct in anticipating some mid and late week turbulence as Mars aligned with Saturn -- two typically negative influences. 

This week will see a plausible enough bullish pattern on Monday as Mercury aligns with Jupiter and Saturn.  But that alignment will be out of range by the time of Wednesday's Fed statement.  Instead, Mars will form a minor angle with Rahu (North Lunar Node).  These are two normally negative energies which tend to correspond with a rise in caution and anxiety.  At the same time, the Sun will align with Venus so that could offset some of the Martian negativity.  Overall, this suggests something of a mixed and rather indecisive picture. 

But when overlaid against the horoscope of the NYSE, one would think that the chances for some kind of negative reaction are greater as Mars conjoins Rahu in this chart while Venus will come to square the Saturn-Neptune opposition in the natal chart.  The Venus station on December 21st at 5 degrees of sidereal Capricorn underlines the potential importance of this tense alignment with Saturn (5 Aries) and Neptune (6 Libra) in the NYSE chart.  It needn't manifest exactly on Wednesday, however, as Venus will be more or less stationary for about the next week. 

There are few certainties when it comes to the Fed and this week is no different.   I don't know for sure if the Fed will announce a reduction of its QE program.  Even if they do not actually taper, they could announce the likelihood of a taper in a subsequent meeting and toughen up their language.  This might be enough to create some jitters in the market.  The planets would tend to suggest more caution this week.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

(8 December 2013) The former South African President and anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela passed away Thursday at the age of 95.  Although he spent much of his adult life in prison, Mandela  emerged as the symbol of righteous defiance against South Africa's institutionalized racist regime.  After his release in 1990, Mandela became one of the world's most respected statesman, eventually winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and the presidency of his country in 1994. 

Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 in Umtata, South Africa.  His time of birth is unknown.  Some astrologers have attempted to rectify it but there remains a lot of uncertainty about Mandela's chart. For this reason, we must content ourselves with the approximate Chandra Lagna chart (Moon-based Ascendant) to see what sort of general clues can be gleaned about life.  To be sure, we likely won't be able to discern the precise celestial inspiration of the man's singular contribution to human freedom and justice.  And yet, even the Chandra Lagna chart provides hints about the basic direction of his path.

Mandela was probably born with the Moon in late Libra.  Libra Moons tend to be highly principled individuals who respond to abstract notions of justice (Libra =  the scales of justice). Libra Moons also tend to be quite diplomatic and persuasive and acknowledge the importance of social accommodation.  Despite of his commitment to revolutionary activity, Mandela was well known for his well-mannered disposition and his understanding for the need to build consensus with his colleagues.

Mandela's Moon is boosted to some extent by the 5th house (trine) aspect aspect from Jupiter.  This would tend to enhance his overall life outcome in terms of happiness and achievement.  The Moon is also modified by its dispositor Venus.  Venus is quite prominent in his chart because it is in the final degree of its own sign of Taurus. In addition, it is tightly conjunct Ketu, the South Lunar Node.  People with strong Ketus tend to be motivated by non-material concerns, as Ketu is considered by traditional Hindus as a spiritual planet which is commonly found in the charts of renunciates.  As a child from a royal family, Mandela could have had a successful career as a lawyer.  However, he found he could not tolerate the oppression and suffering of his fellow countrymen.  His renouncing of a relatively easy middle class life in favour of one dedicated to armed struggle against injustice is a very appropriate embodiment of the Ketu influence.  Since the Moon's dispositor Venus is conjunct Ketu in his horoscope, this non-material Ketu influence was actually quite strong.  He not only lived a spartan existence in prison, he continued to live simply even as president, and donated a large portion of his salary to charity.

The planets in the Moon's sign of Cancer also play an important role in shaping Mandela's character and life trajectory.   On the day of his birth, Mercury and Saturn were in a close conjunction in Cancer.  Mercury-Saturn people tend to be deep thinkers who are given to rationality and a need for order and mental discipline.  The fact that both of these planets are in the sign of the Moon (Cancer) reflected Mandela's great capacity for self-discipline.  This kind of self-control and discipline was necessary during his 27-year imprisonment for his advocation of the overthrow of apartheid. 

It is also worth noting that the Mercury-Saturn conjunction occurs in the 10th house of status and career.  The lord of the 10th house (Moon) is therefore placed in the 1st house and gives a hint about Mandela's ultimate role as one of the most famous leaders of the 20th century.  Such 1-10 combinations are commonly found in the charts of successful and high profile people.  The presence of the Sun and Neptune in the 10th house is further evidence of a horoscope of a successful and well-known person, especially one who is famous for ideals (Neptune) and statesmanship (Sun).  

One of the distinguishing features of Mandela's life was his lengthy imprisonment.  Interestingly, this can be seen fairly clearly through the condition of his Mars.  In Vedic astrology, Mars is the planet that symbolizes punishment.  It is also normally associated with the 12th house of isolation and separation.   As we can see, Mandela's Mars is situated in the 12th house.  While this is a fairly common placement among people who never spend a day in jail, Mandela's Mars is under considerable pressure in the chart.  Mars is in the sign of Virgo which is ruled by Mercury.  Mercury is harmed by its exact conjunction with Saturn, the planet of loss and suffering.  Moreover, Mars itself comes under a very close 3rd house (60 degree) aspect from Saturn.  In effect, that is a double dose of Saturn to that 12th house Mars of Mandela.  It's a very tough position and is one key reason why he spent such a long time in prison.

Nelson Mandela's chart is a reminder how even the horoscope for the day of birth can reflect some important themes in a person's life.

In more mundane matters, financial markets held fairly steady last week as the US jobs report showed significant improvement as the unemployment rate fell to 7%.  The Dow was down fractionally on the week closing at 16,020.  The Sensex fared better as investors cheered state election exit polls which suggested gains for the pro-business BJP.   Stocks generally reflected the transit picture as early week declines coincided with a Mars influence while the second half of the week fared better on the strength of Venus.  Friday's strength was somewhat unexpected, however, as I thought much of the gains would have come by Thursday. 

This week transits seem to point to some early week gains on the Sun-Jupiter-Saturn alignment.  The late week looks more problematic on the approaching Mars-Saturn aspect.  One wonders if the current rally in stocks will last all the way in the Venus retrograde station on December 21.  Once Venus changes direction, there may be changes in sentiment and expectations in the financial markets.  Significantly, Venus will change directions just three days after the Fed's next meeting when they may announce some changes to their QE policy.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Is Bitcoin the new gold for the internet age?

The virtual currency Bitcoin (symbol: BTC) is riding high on a lot buzz right now.  And with good reason.  On November 29th, the value of one Bitcoin ($1242) briefly exceeded the value of an ounce of gold which traded at $1240 on that day.  It was a potential watershed moment in the sudden explosive rise of Bitcoin which was launched back in January 2009.  At that time, one Bitcoin had a value of less than a tenth of a cent.  The explanation for the growing popularity of the currency is related to several factors -- the growth of online commerce, the recognition of the need for an alternative to government-issued fiat currencies which are prone to debasement over time, and a desire by some users for anonymous online transactions which no other currency or payment method currently satisfies.  But is Bitcoin just a newly-minted Ponzi scheme that is doomed to collapse or does Bitcoin represent a viable alternative to gold as a store of value?

From an astrological perspective, Bitcoin presents some intriguing challenges of interpretation.  While we have very precise recorded times for the different phases of its inception and launch, we do not have any idea of where these events took place.  True to its anonymous peer-to-peer nature, no one has claimed responsibility for the invention of Bitcoin.  Its putative creator is "Satoshi Nakamoto", but this is actually a pseudonym and does not refer to a particular person.  Bitcoin's libertarian creed makes it stand apart from any central authority and in order to prevent any control and regulation of this new currency, its creator(s) decided to remain out of public view.  Until the creator steps forward, we will never know who, or more importantly, where Bitcoin was launched. Several journalistic investigations have come up with various possible creators including programmers based in Dublin and Tokyo. 

In astrological terms, this creates a problem where its place of origin remains unknown as it is impossible to cast an accurate horoscope.  In lieu of any known place of birth for Bitcoin, I think it may worth using Silicon Valley, the focus on the internet world, as the de facto birthplace and point of reference for Bitcoin.  While it probably wasn't invented there, its resonance is perhaps more strongly felt there than anywhere else in the world.  In that sense, a Bitcoin chart based in San Jose, California would at least reflect its crucial importance for the burgeoning world of e-commerce and internet technology.   The San Jose-based Bitcoin chart is therefore a very useful relocated chart that may reveal both its nature as well as its trajectory in the past and the future. 

There are several possible candidates for the definitive Bitcoin inception and launch.  The first trade (in order to buy a pizza!), the first established online market place, the registering of the domain name as well as several others.  No doubt all of these "firsts" would reveal something interesting and useful about the reality of Bitcoin as a phenomenon.  From my admittedly cursory reading on the subject, my sense is that the creation of the so-called "Genesis block" of programming code for Bitcoin was the most important moment in the creation of this peer-to-peer currency.  As I understand it, a genesis block is the first "block chain" or code of a shared computer database necessary to conduct transactions.  This first functional written software code was the essence of Bitcoin and allowed users to trade.   This Bitcoin Genesis block was created on 3 January 2009 at 18:15:05 GMT (place unknown). 

The first thing a horoscope should do is reflect the nature of the entity that is birthed at that moment.  As we can see using our San Jose-based chart, Venus and Uranus were rising in the 1st house in Aquarius.  This is a very nice reflection of Bitcoin's essence.  Venus symbolizes money and value, Uranus symbolizes technology, speed and innovation, while Aquarius is the zodiacal embodiment of scientific advancement.  While the conjunction is rather wide, the Ascendant is straddled by Venus and Uranus and thus Bitcoin can be properly seen as a thing that governs money through science and technology.  Not bad! 

We can also note that Mercury, Jupiter and Rahu (North Node) are all conjoined in the 12th house in Capricorn.  This suggests a thing that typifies communication and computers (Mercury) with the application of knowledge (Jupiter) used in an unusual (Rahu) way that is outside of the mainstream or otherwise isolated (12th house).  Although it is making headlines now, Bitcoin is still controversial as many governments don't know what to do with it.  Illegal activities such as drug dealing and money laundering (Rahu/12th house) may be facilitated by Bitcoin which operates outside of any regulatory framework or tax agreement.

Now why has the value of Bitcoin exploded in the past several months?  I think there are a few reasons.  First, we can see that transiting Neptune has conjoined Venus in the 1st house.  Neptune-Venus conjunctions produce generally positive situations as Neptune imparts hopes and dreams to Venus' sense of value.  While it is often positive, the risk that it is a bubble is also greatly increased since Neptune is associated with illusions and fantasies.  These illusions are often only laid bare after Neptune has departed Venus and some other more malefic pattern is set up in the chart.  Since Neptune moves very slowly, the waning influence of Neptune on Venus will occur very gradually and may take anywhere from 6 to 18 months.

The second factor that stands out is transiting Jupiter.  Jupiter is the Great Benefic of course, and its entry into sidereal Gemini in June 2013 coincided with the latter stage of its parabolic increase from $250 to $1250.  As Jupiter transits Gemini, it aspects several key planets in the Bitcoin chart.  It is opposite the Sun-Mars conjunction in the 11th house (gains).  It is also trine (120 degrees/5 houses) the Ascendant, Venus and Uranus.  The retrograde station in November occurred almost exactly trine to Uranus at 26 Gemini. 

The immediate future for Bitcoin would seem to be fairly good as transiting Venus is due to station retrograde on 21 December exactly conjunct the natal Jupiter.  This conjunction of two benefic planets will likely equate to further increases in the price -- probably to new highs.  Even if Bitcoin declines somewhat after that hit, we can see that Venus will station direct in late January at 19 Sagittarius which is exactly conjunct the natal Sun.  This is another positive hit in the chart which suggests continued interest and possibly more upside. 

One possible source of concern is the approach of the conjunction of Pluto to the natal Sun.  Pluto often brings about power plays that feature some notion of control.  It is therefore more likely that Bitcoin will become subject to increased governmental scrutiny in early to mid-2014 as this Pluto conjunction takes root.  This could be a two-edged sword.  On one hand, any intervention and regulation would be seen as negative by some libertarian users.  However, it is also possible that some kind of intervention or oversight may actually serve to broaden the base of Bitcoin users and thereby enhance its value. 

Bitcoin may become more susceptible to declines later in 2014 and in 2015 when Saturn enters Scorpio.  In so doing, it will be in aspect with Jupiter and Mercury by 3rd house aspect and will also form a Western square aspect with Venus and the Ascendant.  Both of these aspects are likely negative and are likely to coincide with a bursting of the bubble.  The Bitcoin natal chart is still strong enough that this may only be the initial chapters in a longer Bitcoin story.  If and when the bubble bursts, there will be future increases and greater popularity down the road for the up and coming virtual currency. Who knows -- it may yet unseat gold as the more reliable store of value away from any government meddling.   The Bitcoin story is only just beginning.

As expected, financial markets generally rose last week as the Venus-Jupiter aspect midweek offset any early losses from the Mercury-Saturn influence.  The Dow edged higher to 16,064. Indian stocks slipped a bit as taper worries pushed the Sensex down to 20,217. 

As I forecast in this week's MVA subscriber newsletter, stocks would generally be weaker in the early going.  This has been borne out so far in US and European markets as the Dow has fallen below 16,000 in early Tuesday trading at the time of writing.  I would expect some kind of reversal higher to take place by midweek as the Moon conjoins Venus so there is a decent chance of a rebound.   On Friday, all eyes will be on the US November jobs report which could persuade the Fed to begin to taper QE.  If the jobs number is strong enough (+200K), then that could move markets.  Venus enters Capricorn ("methodical money") on Thursday and Friday so that is one bullish influence to consider. But Mercury is square Neptune (confusion) which is usually negative.   So the planets look somewhat equivocal here although I would think that if Thursday is clearly higher, then that would increase the odds for some selling on Friday.