Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Why have Chinese stocks doubled in the past six months?

(27 April 2015)  China's stock markets continued their stunning rally yesterday as investors reacted to the government's intention to launch its own QE program of buying assets in order to boost its slowing economy.  The Shanghai Stock Exchange Index has doubled in value since November and now stands at 4500.  The huge rally is the result of several factors including the electronic linking of the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges, the expectation that the People's Bank of China (PBOC) will undertake an even larger quantitative easing program as well as more relaxed margin rules that allow more investors to borrow money to buy shares. 

Astrology offers its own account for this rapid rise in Chinese stocks.  As is often the case, the planet Jupiter is pivotal in most bull market situations.  Jupiter is the planet of optimism and expansion and when it is activated in a natal chart by transit, we can see that stocks tend to rise. The Shanghai Stock Exchange was opened -- or rather re-opened -- on December 19, 1990 at 9.30 a.m.   This horoscope places Jupiter at 19 degrees of sidereal Cancer in the 7th house.  Is it a coincidence that bullish Jupiter is again sitting at 19 degrees of Cancer now after stationing at 18 Cancer just three weeks ago?  Probably not.  

Jupiter returns to its natal position every 12 years so this whole period around the transit conjunction was bound to be positive.  This is even more the case since Jupiter is in the 7th house and therefore it aspects its Ascendant.  Jupiter's 13-month long transit through the sign of Cancer is a positive influence for sentiment in the stock market, all other things being equal. 

Of course, we can't explain this rally solely in terms of the motion of one planet.  We can see that the ongoing Uranus-Pluto square may also have played a role in the rise.  At the time of the major acceleration of stock prices in November, Uranus (19 Pisces) and Pluto (18 Sagittarius) were both in tight alignment with Jupiter (19 Cancer).   Although nominally neutral in themselves, these planets likely became a powerful amplifier for Jupiter's natal energies during the 8-month period they were in alignment.  

We can trace the rally back to approximately August 1st when the Shanghai Index finally broke above technical resistance at 2200 slowly started to climb.  At this time, Uranus and Pluto were a few degrees out of alignment with Jupiter.  Due to retrograde motion, both planets would then move back towards Jupiter and line up almost exactly at the time of the parabolic rally that began in November and continues up until today. 

In August, transiting Jupiter (13 Cancer) was moving deeper into Cancer (from Gemini) and was therefore influencing the 1st house in a increasingly positive way and it approached its natal position.  I would argue that the combined effects of all three transiting planets were necessary (but admittedly not sufficient) reasons for the Chinese stock market to escape its previous doldrums. 

So what does the future hold for Chinese stocks?  We can see that there is the potential for some weakness ahead which could mark a significant break with this rally.  Uranus (25 Pisces) is moving further away from its alignment with Jupiter so that is a diminishing influence.  Jupiter itself is also moving away from its conjunction with its natal placement.  It is possible we could see further gains as long as it remains in the sign of Cancer until July although the picture is complicated by the retrograde motion of Saturn. 

Saturn is the planet of pessimism and when it is prominent, stocks tend to fall.  Saturn turned retrograde in March at 10 degrees of Scorpio and it will closely oppose the natal Mars (5 Taurus) in the Shanghai Exchange chart over the next several months.  Its station at 4 Scorpio in July and August will exactly aspect Ketu (South Node).  This tends to be a more problematic influence, especially if Jupiter is not present to offset any Saturnian negativity.   While there is a good case for Chinese stocks to move higher in the medium term into 2016, I suspect these nearer term influences will bring about a major correction first.   The Mars-Saturn opposition in mid-May is likely to correspond with some weakness, as is the Saturn-Pluto alignment in the summer.

Weekly Financial Markets Update

US stocks generally rose last week as the latest housing data and corporate earnings fueled enticed buyers.  The Dow climbed 1% on the week closing at 18,080.  Indian stocks fell, however, as the rebound in oil prices was seen as inflationary.  The BSE-Sensex tumbled 1000 points on the week and finished at 27,437.  I had suggested the week as a whole could be mixed but noted the bearish potential of the Mercury-Mars conjunction.   This hit the Indian market particularly hard since it aligned with several natal planets in the NSE horoscope. 

This week has also started off mixed as US and Indian markets have fallen while European and Chinese markets have enjoyed strong gains.  Transits are decidedly not a 'one-size-fits-all' proposition since they hit the various exchange horoscopes in different ways.  That said, Saturn forms a 135 degree angle with Uranus through the week so that could be a general source of tension and possible selling.   Venus aligns with Mars through most of the week and that also may be a questionable influence where gains may be harder to come by. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Libyan ship sinking highlights tensions within the EU horoscope

(20 April 2015)  European governments are weighing their options this week after the tragic sinking of a ship of migrants off the coast of Libya.  Almost 700 people are believed to have drowned as the migrants were escaping the political instability in Libya.  The sinking highlights the plight of refugees from Syria, Iraq, and now Libya who have witnessed their societies descend into war and chaos in recent years.  Europe's proximity to the troubled region has forced it consider its humanitarian responsibility despite its own ongoing economic stagnation.  The influx of refugees and immigrants from these Islamic countries has tested European values of tolerance and openness and has provided fuel for right wing political parties.  The emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers today will attempt to formulate a better response to the refugee crisis.

This latest chapter in the European migrant situation can be seen through the horoscope of the EU (1 November 1993, 00.00 a.m. Maastricht, Netherlands).   The natal chart itself hints at possible problems with foreigners as the ruler of the 12th house, Mercury (26 Libra), is placed very close to the 4th house cusp.  The 12th house typically represents outsiders and foreigners while the 4th house symbolizes the home.   This placement reflects the tendency that foreign-born people will have an important or even outsized role in the EU.    However, problems are indicated by the difficult condition of Mercury in the 4th house.   It is closely conjunct malefic Mars and Pluto in the first degree of Scorpio.  Even worse, perhaps, is that it receives a full strength 10th house aspect from Saturn.  This suggests that the sense of home and belonging (4th house) will be disrupted or hard to achieve for migrants (12th house).  It may also create tensions and stresses for native Europeans that undermine their own sense of security and belonging. 

The sense of security and belonging is also weakened by the difficult position of the Moon (0 Taurus).  While the Moon enjoys a certain pride of place through its position at the top of the chart in the 10th house, it is closely opposed by Mars and Pluto.   Both of these planets undermine the sense of peacefulness and security that one normally associates with the home and homeland.   The partial strength square aspect from Saturn (29 Capricorn) to the Moon should also be seen as a negative influence. 

Foreigners and migrants are symbolized by the 12th house as well as the planets Saturn and Rahu (North Lunar Node).  Rahu is perhaps the most closely associated with notions of outsiders and foreigners, while Saturn has a secondary role as it represents low status people, which is often associated with individuals who do not belong to the dominant in-group. 

Interestingly, both of these planets are highlighted in the current transit chart.  Transiting Saturn is conjunct natal Rahu.  If Rahu symbolizes outsiders and foreigners, then Saturn's malefic transit is a very appropriate influence that reflects the harm and suffering of the migrants.  While this conjunction doesn't necessarily reflect the specific sinking of this ship given Saturn's slow velocity, it does capture something of the soul-searching that is occurring on the migrant issue in Europe these days.

Weekly Financial Update

Stocks generally slipped last week on earnings concerns and indications of slower growth in China.  The Dow ended 1% lower at 17,826, while India's Sensex closed at 28,442.  This negative outcome was in keeping with expectations given the three bearish-looking aspects I mentioned in last week's update.  Much of the damage occurred on Friday and closely coincided with the bearish Mars-Jupiter square aspect.

This week looks more mixed.  The early week leans bullish on the Venus-Jupiter alignment on Monday and Tuesday.  Monday has been lower in Asia but European and US markets are higher.  A potential big mover of stocks occurs midweek on the Mercury-Mars conjunction at 22 degrees of Aries.   This is a bearish combination.  This is exact on Wednesday but it could manifest on other days given the larger alignment with Pluto (21 Sagittarius) and Uranus (23 Pisces). 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hillary Clinton announces campaign for President

(12 April 2015)  Hillary Clinton finally ended the pseudo-suspense today and announced her candidacy for the nomination for the Democratic Party in the 2016 US Presidential election.  Ms. Clinton made the announcement via a Youtube video that was released shortly after 3 p.m.  The exact timing of the announcement is important for astrological reasons since the timing of the launch of the campaign marks the official beginning of her endeavour to become President.  In my experience, the horoscopes of these launches reveal important information about the nature of the candidacy as well as providing clues about the eventual success or failure of the campaign.  Clearly, Ms. Clinton is the Democratic frontrunner at this point as no serious challenger has yet stepped forward.  She also stands a decent chance of winning against any Republican candidate according to recent polls.  So what does this campaign launch chart tell us about her chances?

Earlier in the week, the campaign was widely expected to be launched on Sunday, April 12th. I had looked at the chart and quickly concluded there was no astrologer on her staff since Saturn closely aspected both Venus and the Moon today.  Saturn (10 Scorpio) is generally a restrictive and limited influence in the chart and its opposition aspect with Venus (7 Taurus) suggested unhappiness or at least a relatively joyless, austere campaign.  The full strength Saturn sextile aspect to the Moon (6 Capricorn) aspect is somewhat similar and suggests a very emotionally dry or repressed endeavour.  This needn't mean she will lose, but it is not the kind of chart one would normally want for a political campaign.  Politics in the US is typically an exercise in optimism and this is the antithesis of an optimistic sort of chart. 

On the plus side, early Leo rises in the Ascendant which is usually good for confidence and bold action.  In this media-driven world, that is usually a good thing.  Leo is ruled by the Sun, of course, and the Sun is closely conjunct both Uranus (fame, excitement, change) and Mercury (communication).  This is therefore a decent placement for the chart ruler.  The wide trine aspect from Jupiter is also helpful in this regard.   Venus is the ruler of the 10th house of status and is placed hat the very top of the chart close to the equal house cusp of the 10th house.  (=A woman in charge?)  This is not necessarily significant in terms of winning or losing, but at least reflects the high social profile of Hillary's campaign as the first serious female candidate for President of the United States. 

Gains and wishes fulfilled (i.e. an election win) are seen through the 11th house which is untenanted but ruled by Mercury (Gemini).  Mercury is fairly well placed in the 9th house in Aries.  It's close to the Sun which is good since it's ruling the 1st house, and it's also widely conjunct Mars which happens to rule the 9th house.  Such combinations of the rulers of the 1st, 9th and 11th houses are often auspicious. 

That said, the natal chart is not anything to write home about.  Let's take a look at the transits and how they might affect these natal positions.  The huge problem here goes back to that double Saturn aspect to Venus and the Moon. Saturn will be retrograding over the next four months and will therefore actually tighten those aspects with Venus and the Moon.  The Saturn direct station is due in early August at 4 Scorpio.  This suggests that Ms. Clinton's campaign may struggle in its early stages.  She is more likely to draw negative attention to herself as opponents may find her easy pickings as the frontrunner. Even worse, is the fact that Saturn will move into a near exact square aspect to the Ascendant from June to September.  This will simultaneously aspect the Moon (emotions, well-being).  And if that weren't enough, transiting Rahu will exactly aspect her Moon in September. 

This whole summer season is likely to be very difficult for Hillary.  She is likely to go down in approval ratings and will suffer more embarrassments and scandals not unlike the recent email server controversy.  She already has some serious trust issues with the American public that are likely to simmer and flare up again around the time of these Saturn and Rahu transits.  It seems a stretch to think that her entire campaign could be at risk during this time and yet the transits do look quite intense.  At very least, I would think her problems will encourage more Democratic challengers to enter the race.

But by October, I would think her fortunes should improve as Saturn finally moves past its natal position in the chart and Jupiter stations in close alignment with the Midheaven in December and January. Since that will be the beginning of primary season, it bodes well for some important early victories in the primaries.  I would think her chances are good for winning the nomination in April as transiting Sun and Mercury transit the 9th and 10th houses in this horoscope. The 9th house may well become a surrogate for the 11th house of wins/gains through 11th house ruler Mercury's placement in the 9th house.  Whether Hillary can win on election day on November 8th is another question that I will address in a future post.  For what it's worth, this campaign chart looks unremarkable on Election Day and therefore somewhat negative on that question.  However, I do think her birth chart looks good but I would like to get a better sense of her potential GOP opponents and their astrological potential before making a clear prediction.

Weekly Financial Forecast

Stocks rose last week as US economic data generally improved and the release of the Fed minutes didn't show a significantly different prospects for a future rate hike.  The Dow gained less than 2% on the week closing at 18,057 while India's Sensex rose 600 points and finished at 28,879.  Most Asian and European markets also had a positive week.  This outcome was not surprising given the Jupiter direct station on the 8th and 9th.  Such planetary stations are typically time frames of highly focused energies where the inherent qualities of a planet manifests.  Jupiter is the quintessentially bullish planet and hence its station is more likely to correlate with positive market results.

This week looks more problematic, however, as Mars aligns with the North Lunar Node (Rahu) in the early part of the week.  This aspect can often signal times of stress and anxiety.  The middle part of the week also suffers from a Venus opposition to Saturn.  Given Saturn's pre-eminent association with bearishness and pessimism, it seems likely that stocks will fall around this time.  And the end of the week is also a bit of a question mark as Mars squares Jupiter.  These two planets are not always negative but the downside risk definitely rises when these two form a close angle.  With Jupiter now returning to its normal forward motion, there may be less collective optimism for investors to tap into it here.