Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Hillary wins first debate with Trump

(27 September 2016) Early indications are that Democrat Hillary Clinton was the winner of the first presidential debate against her GOP opponent Donald Trump.  A CNN-ORC poll showed that 62% of respondents thought she won the debate while financial markets offered even more evidence that Hillary bested Trump.  The stock market is well known to prefer a Clinton presidency and Dow futures rose throughout the debate.  Markets don't like uncertainty and Clinton is seen as a status quo candidate with close ties to Wall Street (Just ask Goldman Sachs!). 

Even more telling was the rise of the Mexican peso following the debate.  The peso has closely mirror the relative strength of Donald Trump, who is seen as a net negative for the Mexican economy since he wants to tax imports from south of the border and deport millions of illegal Mexicans living in the US.   The stronger post-debate peso was more proof that the market now sees Hillary Clinton as being one step closer to the presidency.

This outcome was not surprising as I thought Hillary Clinton would likely win in this first debate.  The alignment of the Sun, Venus and Jupiter to her Sun at 9 Libra was suggestive of a positive result from being in the spotlight.  To be sure, only Venus was conjunct her Sun, but the non-aspecting influence of the Sun and Jupiter was likely also helpful to her.  Also I thought that Trump's chart didn't look that favourable to him given the prominence of transiting Mars in this chart. 

Some Mars is good since it gives initiative and assertiveness, but a lot of Mars is usually bad.  This is especially for someone with an outsized Mars like Trump who has it rising in this 1st house (the Self) in the royal sign of Leo.  Actually, I thought Trump was surprisingly restrained through the whole thing as I had previously suggested he might have become outrageously aggressive as in past debates.

I have tended to not be overly reliant on the minutiae of Hillary's chart because her birth time remains in doubt.  I've cautiously used the 8.00 a.m. time up to now but generally ignored the time dependent factors wherever possible.  That's why I have also consulted the charts of her husband Bill and daughter Chelsea whose birth times are more well known. Bill Clinton's chart showed a very obvious positive alignment as the Sun-Jupiter conjunction at 9 and 10 degrees of Virgo was coming up to hit his Ascendant at 12 Virgo.  A pretty nice alignment for getting what you want I'd have to say.

So what happens now?  Well, if Bill's 8.50 a.m. chart is correct (and I think it is), then Hillary should continue to do well for the next couple of weeks and right up to the election.   It's all about those planets in Virgo.  Bill's Ascendant (first house) is Virgo and he has the Sun, Neptune and Venus all situated in that first house.  Jupiter is slowly transiting through Virgo (for the next year or so) so that will be a big boost for both Bill and Hillary. 

The first debate took place just as the Sun was conjoining Bill's Ascendant.  Basically a slam dunk sort of planetary pattern for a Clinton debate win.  As the Sun moves past his Ascendant, there may be a slight come down for a few days but now Mercury has also entered Virgo and that will likely also translate into favourable situations and outcomes for the Clintons over the next couple of weeks.  The Vice-presidential debate on October 4th may also go the Democrats way as transiting Sun conjoins Bill's Venus.  I've already suggested Democratic VP nominee Tim Kaine would do well in October as the Mars-Jupiter square lines up exactly to the degree with his Ascendant on -- you guessed it -- October 4th.  Mars and Jupiter are power planets that are highly conducive for gaining political advantage. 

The second debate takes place on October 9th just a day before Mercury (10 Virgo) also conjoins Bill's Ascendant alongside Jupiter (12 Virgo).  Mercury is associated with thinking and information whereas Jupiter symbolizes optimism and "right outcomes".  This conjunction should therefore translate into information that creates positive results for Hillary.  Moreover, transiting Venus (happiness) is almost exactly opposite his natal Moon (the feminine, emotions).  Both of these transits are very positive for Hillary's performance and they will increase the chances for a second debate 'win'.  And yet, Mars will casts its malefic 8th house aspect (210 degrees) to Clinton's Mercury around that second debate.  That is not good at all.  It seems likely that Hillary will experience some setback around that time.  So while there are problems on the Clinton side, we can see that the Mercury-Jupiter conjunction will line up in exact opposition to Kaine's Ascendant at 11 Pisces so that's another sign that Hillary will continue to lead in the polls and do well at the time of the second debate.

And yet Donald Trump's chart has some strength at that time also that it lacked for the first debate.  On the plus side, the transiting Sun (23 Virgo) is coming up to his Jupiter (24 Virgo) and it will activate this nice Jupiter-Uranus alignment.  It's exact the following day (poll results?) but I would think he feels some kind of ego boost from it.  Sun-Jupiter alignments can indicate rewards and recognition. 

However, once again Mars lurks in the Trump chart and not in a good way.  Transiting Mars (14 Sagittarius) will be closely opposite his Mercury (15 Gemini) symbolizing communication.  Trump may therefore be more aggressive and harsh in his speech at this debate.  Overall, maybe Trump has a mixed performance.  Perhaps he scores some important points in the debate but somehow has a Mars-related setback by being overly aggressive.  He could conceivably win some short-term polls on 'who won the debate' but still not make up any ground in actual polls about probable voting intentions on November 8th.  It's an interesting mix of planets to be sure.

The bottom line is the stars are still aligning very much in favour of a Hillary Clinton presidency.  I just don't see any other outcome.  Last year, I thought Hillary had the stars to win while Trump couldn't win.  Nothing has changed.  Yes, I underestimated Trump's chances to win the GOP nomination even if he chart was really good.  Maybe that's my bias talking.  But on the question of the ultimate prize, I don't see how Trump wins this thing.  The question is rather how much will he lose by.  For now, I can't think of a plausible way of distinguishing between a narrow win and a landslide based on the charts alone.  What is the astrological signature for humiliation and how is it different from crushing and disappointing narrow loss?

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks rallied last week after the Fed left rates unchanged.  With the Fed too timid to hike rates, investors again hit the buy button as the Dow gained 1% on the week.  The Indian Sensex also added about 1%.  In last week's market forecast, I thought we could see a short term pullback after the Fed, but the overall gains were not unexpected given the generally bullish patterns in play.  Venus is in Libra now and the Sun was approaching its conjunction with bullish Jupiter.  So far this week, however, stocks have fallen on profit taking as crude oil producers have failed to come to a production freeze to prop up prices. 

The rest of this week looks somewhat mixed.  Wednesday's Moon-Rahu conjunction seems negative  and could extend the uncertainty.  However, the late week looks more bullish as the Moon conjoins the Sun-Jupiter conjunction.  The market could hang on a bit longer here in early October as Mercury conjoins with Jupiter but time is growing short as Saturn is squaring both Rahu (North Lunar Node) and Neptune. This planetary alignment could be too much even for this heavily manipulated market to handle.

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Trump pulls even with Clinton as his Jupiter dasha is set to begin

(21 September 2016) The improbable candidacy of Donald J. Trump continues to defy the odds as the US presidential election heads into its home stretch.   After falling behind by 6-8 points in July and August, Trump is now in a virtual dead heat with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.   He clearly has the momentum on his side as the candidates prepare for the first debate next Monday the 26th.  If he can even hold his own against his better-prepared and more wonkish opponent, it could be enough to put him in the lead and perhaps take him into the White House. 

Last week, I reiterated my skepticism about a Trump victory.  The first debate looked like it would be a clear Hillary win, or at least some event right around the time of the debate looked strongly favorable to her.  While Trump's horoscope for the second debate on October 9th looks much better, I'm still not convinced he will be able to go all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 

In previous posts on the US election, I've outlined a number of reasons for Hillary's relative strength and Trump's relative weakness in November.  This week I wanted to focus on a single factor, dashas periods, to illustrate how the race could shift gears in the days ahead.  Dasha periods are unique to Vedic astrology, although Western Hellenistic astrology uses the analogous concept of time lords.  Essentially, a dasha period is a block of time measured in years where life experiences and outcomes are disproportionately shaped by a single planet, the dasha ruler (or dasha lord). The outcomes of a particular dasha are more likely to be favourable if its ruler is a 1) benefic planet and 2) if it is strong and well placed in the horoscope. Obviously, there is a considerable interpretive grey area about whether a planet is well placed or not.  Sometimes, it is clearly positive such as for a dasha of a benefic planet like Venus which is unafflicted by malefics like Saturn or Mars and it is placed in an auspicious house, like the 1st, 5th or 9th.   In most such cases, we could predict that a Venus dasha period will tend to be mostly favourable.  The dasha period is divided into minor periods which can also be assessed and interpreted according to standard rules of Vedic astrology.

Now let's take a look at Trump's chart.  He is at the very end of his Rahu major dasha period which began back in 1998.  He launched his campaign for president in June 2015 while under Rahu-Moon and then began to assume a commanding lead after Rahu-Mars began in September 2015.  Rahu is a fantastic planet for Trump because it is placed in its best house, the 10th, symbolizing status and profile.  Rahu may be a natural malefic, but it does very well in the 10th and 11th houses where it typically accompanies career (10th) and material (11th) and success.  It also does well in the other upachaya houses, the 3rd and 6th.  Moreover, Trump's Rahu is made ever stronger by virtue of its close conjunction with Uranus (originality, rebellion) and the Sun (leadership, ego).  Rahu is also aspected (by 120 degree trine) by benefic Jupiter.

Rahu is the planet of transgression and grasping -- a perfect planetary embodiment of the free-wheeling, self-aggrandizing entrepreneur Trump.  Rahu seeks to breaks the mold no matter what the cost and its placement in Trump's 10th house is one reason for his stunning campaign success.  Trump's campaign has broken all the US political rules and dumbfounded media and fellow Republicans alike.  And yet he still putting his message out there no matter how much offense it causes or much criticism he receives. He's very Rahuvian.

His campaign began under Rahu-Moon.  Moon is nominally debilitated in Scorpio but its dispositor Mars is very powerful on the Ascendant, hence its debility is canceled.  And Moon is with Ketu (South Node) which conjures up notions of unusual or unconventional behaviours.  His campaign seemed like a circus sideshow at first (and still is by some measures!) because Trump usually spoke off the cuff without notes or a teleprompter.  Like its nodal cousin Rahu, Ketu is also capable of surprises and going off-script.  Moon is also opposite the Sun, a very empowering influence that speaks to leadership and being in the limelight.

Trump started to pull away from all other rivals in the polls once Rahu-Mars began in September last year.  Mars is arguably Trump's best planet so that isn't too surprising.  Mars is rising in fiery Leo, no less!  It would be an appropriate time for him to exercise his assertiveness, aggression and executive ability against all comers.  And he did -- all of his rivals dropped out of the race one by one until Trump was nominated in the spring.  Trump has continued to thrive in his unconventional campaign against Hillary Clinton as his Rahu-Mars dasha period now comes to a close.

We would do well to recall the traditional Vedic warning about Rahu.  It is said that Rahu bring gains quickly but they can be unreliable and unsustainable.  Gains and benefits that accrue under the Rahu dasha are vulnerable to sudden loss near the end of the its dasha period.  So far, Trump isn't showing any signs of losing his momentum and the Rahu period is days away from ending.   Traditional warnings about Rahu notwithstanding, I suspect that Trump may become more prone to setbacks, ironically, under his Jupiter dasha.

So what happens when his Jupiter dasha period starts on or near September 30th?  I should note at the outset that the exact timing of dashas is dependent on the ayanamsha used.  I use Krishnamurthi which is 5 arc minutes ahead of the more widely used Lahiri.  Lahiri has Trump entering his Jupiter dasha after the election in mid-November.  So that creates an additional layer of interpretive uncertainty.   Nonetheless, it may be worth watching if there are significant shifts in the campaign around this September 30th date.  Interestingly, it is just four days after the first debate. 

So while we could see some new dynamics or developments in the campaign with the Jupiter dasha, we could also make the case that Trump's Jupiter dasha could put him over the top and win the presidency.  After all, Jupiter is a natural benefic and it is very strong in his natal chart in the 2nd house, although retrograde.  Trump's Jupiter is near stationary as he was born just one day before Jupiter stationed direct.  This usually enhances Jupiterian matters like money, in this case, since his Jupiter is in the 2nd house of wealth.  Jupiter is placed in Virgo, a sign which Mercury rules.  Mercury is placed in the 11th house of gains and income.  It all makes for a powerful Jupiter to be sure so I would think Trump's Jupiter dasha period will still be good for him.

But Jupiter also receives an aspect from Rahu and is aligned with destabilizing Uranus very closely.  While Trump's 2nd house Jupiter has been a big reason for his billionaire status, we should not forget he has declared bankruptcy several times also.  His wealth has been very changeable, a perfect reflection of Rahu's feast-or-famine type influence.  Rahu's aspect to Jupiter also makes Trump less likely to adhere to ethical norms perhaps as Rahu's amoral and disruptive ways undermine Jupiter's natural inclination to uphold commonly accepted standards and values.   So while Trump's Rahu gets a boost from its aspect from Jupiter, Jupiter may be damaged by its aspect from Rahu.  This is a small clue that Trump's upcoming Jupiter dasha period may be flawed in some way. 

It's also worth noting that Jupiter is only indirectly connected with status and career.  Jupiter does aspect the 10th house of status so that could boost his fortunes somewhat.  But the 11th house of gains (and winning!) is only indirectly involved through the Mercury dispositorship.  It could be that Trump's Jupiter dasha is better for fame and wealth, rather than gaining political power.

This is not at all clear cut, of course.  For forecasting a Trump election loss, I would have much rather seen his Jupiter is more obviously difficult shape.  And yet it is still quite strong, with the exception of the aspect from Rahu.  But it could lend the late September-early October period a special importance as Trump's dasha periods turn over, regardless of what Jupiter may ultimately bring.  Given Rahu's problematic influence on Jupiter, we should watch for possible lapses in Trump's moral judgment that are brought to light, or at least begin to gain traction against him.

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks have generally been mixed so far this week, after a modestly positive close to last week.  In last week's market forecast, I thought that stocks might be fairly mixed, except for Friday given the tense Moon aspect with the Sun and Mars.  Indeed, Friday was more volatile in some markets following stronger than expected US inflation data. 

The Fed meets Wednesday just after the Bank of Japan is also scheduled to issue its latest pronouncement.  There is definitely the possibility of major reactions to both of these central bank statements.  While Venus is now in Libra which is somewhat more bullish than Virgo, the short term aspects look more tense for Wednesday and Thursday.  Mercury stations direct in a close square aspect with Saturn.  Moreover, this aspect will be highlighted by the Moon, especially during Wednesday's US trading session.  So we could see some short term negative fallout to the Fed or the BOJ.  Friday looks more bullish, however, as Venus aligns with the Sun and Moon.  This positive Venus alignment also continues into early next week.

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Merkel suffers embarrassing loss in German state election

(6 September 2016)  German Chancellor Angela Merkel suffered an embarrassing defeat in regional elections over the weekend as her CDU party came in third behind the center-left SPD and the right-wing anti-immigrant AfD party.  The loss is another repudiation of Merkel's controversial open-door immigrant policy that has seen over 1 million Muslim refugees from Syria enter the country in the past year. With a general election due in the fall of 2017, Merkel and the CDU may be forced to backtrack on the immigrant policy or risk losing control of the Bundestag.

This loss fulfills a previous political astrology prediction I had made about Merkel's fortunes for 2016 due to some longer term planetary afflictions.  Following a similar state election setback in March, I suggested that the ongoing affliction by Saturn to her Ascendant for most of 2016 would cause more problems.  Interestingly, the horoscope for Germany itself was also under this Saturnian pressure as this reflects the prevailing sense of political unease about the future of the immigrant policy.

The problem for Ms. Merkel is that her Ascendant lies at 20 degrees of sidereal Scorpio.  Transiting Saturn is now at 16 Scorpio after stationing direct in the summer at 15 Scorpio.  Transiting Mars (22 Scorpio) is also nearby having just crossed her Ascendant a couple of days before.   Both Mars and Saturn are natural malefics, of course, and this double whammy tends to coincide with stressful periods and unfavourable events whenever they align with a sensitive point in a person's chart such as the Moon, the Sun, or the Ascendant. 

The affliction is duplicated in the 1871 Germany horoscope since that has the nearly exact opposite Ascendant at 19 Taurus.  Thus, the Mars-Saturn conjunction in Scorpio hits the 7th house cusp and aspects the Ascendant by opposition.  The near-mirror image of Merkel's Ascendant and Germany's Ascendant may be one reason why she has enjoyed a long tenure as Chancellor.  The aligned Ascendants make her a natural sort of mirror for the nation as she may reflect the people's consciousness and project it back to them.

And yet she seems to have miscalculated on this immigrant policy.  Her approval ratings are at a five-year low and next year's election may not go well.  It is still possible she may be forced to resign before the election in order to give the CDU a better chance of winning. 

Saturn will conjoin the Ascendant in late October and early November but I suspect some of the negativity for her has manifested already in this election result.  Saturn is still yet to hit the Ascendant but the Mars likely acted as a bridge for the slower-moving Saturn to express its influence a little ahead of time.  October will likely be stressful in any event, however, as Ketu aspects her natal Mercury, her dasha lord.  That can bring about big changes in life, usually changes that are unpleasant in some way.  A resignation is not out of the question, although I wonder if she will be involved with an unwanted event of somewhat lesser significance.

Her challenges are unlikely to ease in 2017.  Transiting Saturn (3 Sagittarius) is due to station in April 2017 exactly on her Mars in the 2nd house.  This is likely to bring new stresses and setbacks although I'm not sure they will involve her refugee policy.  The second house relates more to the economy and wealth so financial matters may be more in focus at that time.   In another parallel placement, this Saturn station will hit Germany's Moon (2 Sagittarius) very closely.  The Moon represents the people as a whole so that suggests some loss or suffering that is borne by the population as a whole.  This sounds more like an economic problems than political conflict or political damage.

Her chart doesn't look very promising for the election which will be held in either September or October next year.  Saturn will still be in her 1st house and thus will have a depressing effect on most of her actions.  Transiting Uranus will be square her Sun (as it will for the rest of 2016 and all of 2017) and thus create a destabilizing influence.  The Sun-Uranus square can reflect situations that are chaotic, disruptive and somehow out of control.  This does not bode well for her re-election in 2017.  If she is still leader of the CDU by that time, I think she will lose power.

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks have been fairly mixed in recent days following a mediocre US jobs report.  As has been the case for the past several years, bad or underwhelming economic news is good news for the stock market since it means the Federal Reserve's ultra-low interest rate policy will continue.  Near zero rates make it easier for companies to borrow money to buy back their stock, thus reducing the supply available to investors and thus bidding up the price. 

In last week's market forecast, I thought we might have seen more downside last week on the Mars-Rahu aspect although I was somewhat uncertain about how US stocks would react to the jobs report.  Friday's Mercury-Jupiter conjunction was a bullish influence but I would unsure if it would prevail.

This week again contains some bearish potential but this time without any obvious bullish Jupiter aspects which might offset the negativity.  The late week looks more vulnerable in this respect as the Moon aligns with Mars and Saturn.  Maybe this is the week where will see more of that underlying bearish influence of the Venus transit of Virgo.