Monday, March 16, 2015

Is the Fed's patience wearing thin?

(16 March 2015)  All eyes in the financial world are on Janet Yellen this week as the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee meets on Wednesday.  In recent weeks, there has been a growing sense that Yellen will shift the language around a possible interest rate hike later this year.  The Fed's "patient" stance on a possible rate hike may be dropped as the US economy picks up steam and inflationary pressures build.   Although any actual hike may still be months away (June at the earliest), markets are keenly aware that any changes in wording could move stocks significantly.  An abrupt shift in language could persuade investors to trim their holdings and push the market lower.  A retention of "patient", or a substitution of any similarly accommodative language would be unexpected and could spark a rally.  So are there any astrological clues that may reveal what will she say?

I can't predict what words she will use but the planets do seem to have a fairly unusual layer of intensity on Wednesday.  Looking at Janet Yellen's horoscope (actually her approximated horoscope since we don't know her birth time), we can see that transiting Mars (26 Pisces) will be in a close trine aspect with Ketu (25 Scorpio), the South Lunar Node.  This kind of Mars-Ketu aspect suggests a greater expenditure of energy and the necessity of quick reaction to unexpected developments.  Although it's broadly stressful, it doesn't necessarily mean that Yellen will suddenly be in the hotseat. 

On Wednesday, Venus (7 Aries) will form a close square with her Saturn (8 Cancer) which may indicate some level of sadness or unhappiness. With Saturn (10 Scorpio) just having stationed retrograde in fairly close alignment with her Mercury (11 Cancer), there is some evidence that Yellen is under considerable stress here.  Saturn-Mercury aspects tend to coincide with major obstacles that are often work-related and may signify a setback.

As an added layer, we can see that there is a similar Mars influence in the Fed horoscope as Mars squares its natal position.  Mars transits ratchet up the energy surrounding a one or two-day window.  The square aspect is often problematic in some way so that conflict or annoyance is more likely to manifest.  This is not a transit one would find if, for example, a Fed announcement was welcomed by the market with a major rally.  Another red flag here is that Saturn's station at 10 Scorpio forms a tight 135 degree aspect with the Ascendant of the Fed chart.  This is another sign of a setback or complication in their plans. 

Taken together, these influences suggest that whatever choices Yellen and the Fed will make this week, they will be the result of imperfect options.  There is also the possibility that things will not go according to expectations and they may be forced to do something she would rather not.  Now, whether this means staying patient about zero interest rates is harder to say. 

Given Yellen's dovish stance, this seems more likely to mean raising rates sooner rather than later.  This might also explain the strong Mars and Saturn influences here which tend to be prominent in unwanted or negative situations.  It it possible that Yellen and the Fed will only get into trouble from her testimony after the formal printed announcement is released.   The Mercury-Neptune conjunction on Wednesday seems to suggest some confusion is possible, although it could simply represent an idealized (Neptune) interpretation of her communication (Mercury) -- "the economy is getting better".  Neptune often symbolizes things that do not exist in reality and is more concerned with dreams and illusions.  That may refer to Yellen's dream of an economic recovery as the rest of the world appears to be slipping into recession. 

The bottom line is it's hard to see a simple positive market reaction to Wednesday's announcement with these planets.  It's still conceivable the market could still move higher this week but the planets suggest that Yellen and the Fed will be in the spotlight where they are more likely to receive more criticism and scrutiny.

Weekly Market Update

Stocks were lower last week as growing concern over the sharply rising US Dollar convinced investors to reassess their portfolios.  The Dow lost 1% on the week closing at 17,749 while the Indian Sensex slumped 3% to 28,503.  This negative outcome was very much in keeping with our expectations as I thought the Mars alignment with Uranus and Pluto would likely cause some problems, especially given the apparent waning influence of Jupiter in the wake of its aspect with Uranus on March 3rd. 

This week could see some bigger moves as a result of Wednesday's Fed announcement.  Wednesday's Mercury-Neptune conjunction could go either way actually, although the Mars-Saturn alignment on Tuesday looks more difficult.  Whether its effects bleeds into Wednesday is unclear, however. Friday's solar eclipse could introduce more uncertainty into the mix, especially given the close Venus-Saturn alignment that day.