Predictions & Forecasts

Hillary feels the Bern despite narrow win in Iowa

(2 February 2016)  Yesterday's Iowa Caucuses were the opening salvo of the lengthy US primary season as the rubber finally hit the road for the candidates for the Democrats and GOP after almost a full year of campaigning.  Conservative Ted Cruz beat Donald Trump for the Republicans while the heavily-favoured Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton barely edged out the maverick socialist Senator Bernie Sanders by the narrowest of margins. 

While Iowa is not seen as a bellwether for future primaries or the eventual nomination due to its unrepresentative demographics, it can nonetheless raise campaign profiles and give a boost for fundraising.  This is surely going to be the case for Bernie Sanders who has come out of nowhere from the extreme left wing of the party to challenge Ms. Clinton, the heir-apparent to Barack Obama as the next nominee for the Democrats in the November Presidential election.  Sanders can claim a moral victory in Iowa as he only lost to Clinton by 0.2%. 

But can Bernie Sanders really beat Hillary Clinton for the nomination?  It seems unlikely according to most political analysts given Hillary's strengths in minority communities and in the South.  Although she is widely expected to lose the upcoming New Hampshire primary on February 9th which is next door to Sanders' home state of Vermont, Clinton should do much better in Nevada on February 20th and especially in South Carolina on February 23rd.  Read more...


Bank of Japan enters twilight zone of negative interest rates

(1 February 2016) The Bank of Japan surprised financial markets last Friday by cutting its prime interest rate to -0.1% on interbank loans.   BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda's shock move into the twilight zone of negative interest rates is designed to entice reluctant Japanese banks to lend more money and thereby provide a stimulus for the perennially moribund Japanese economy. Stock markets around the world reacted positively to the rate cut, even if its long term consequences are unknown.  Negative rates force money out safe assets like bank accounts and bonds into riskier assets like stocks which have a greater potential return.  However, the negative interest rate policy (NIRP)  is new and rather experimental as the European Central Bank (ECB) was only the first major central bank to move its rate below the 'zero bound' in June 2014.

This move into negative rates seems a bit desperate as central banks are now realizing the limits of the effectiveness of its previous preferred monetary instrument of quantitative easing (QE).  But with the global economy careening towards another recession, central banks may be willing to try anything to boost economic activity, even if it means punishing savers even more and creating unknown systemic risks.  Read more...


Oil tells all: stocks take cue from crude prices

(25 January 2016)  Are we there yet?  Investors are wondering if this January decline might finally be done with or if this is only be a nasty prelude to a more tumultuous financial year in 2016.  My assessment of the planetary influences suggest there is a higher than normal risk of more downside in both the short and medium term. There are several useful charts in this respect but perhaps none is more important these days than the chart for crude oil futures. 

As we have seen, the stock market is currently being driven by oil prices.  If oil falls, stocks also fall soon after.  One reason for this close correlation is that oil prices have fallen so far that many oil companies are in financial trouble.  Most have laid off workers, and some are on the verge of insolvency.  In particular, some US-based companies borrowed heavily for capital-intensive shale fracking operations.  As these companies go under, they will no longer be able to repay their debt and hence the banks that loaned them money will also be in trouble.  The financial contagion will thereby be released upon a vulnerable economy.   As the world's pre-eminent commodity, crude oil prices are also seen as a proxy for the state of the global economy.  The falling prices in the oil market are signaling that the economy is slowing as China and other emerging markets cut their consumption levels amid rising debt.  Read more...


The China Syndrome: the world's economic engine stalls

(18 January 2016) Financial markets continue to look shaky as the 'China Syndrome' threatens the global economy.  After many years of impressive economic growth, China is showing more signs that its once-powerful economic engine is sputtering. This is one of the main reasons why crude oil has fallen below $30 a barrel and most stock markets have declined so far in 2016.  As China goes, so goes the global economy.   If China is forced to further devalue its currency to boost its exports and protect jobs, we can expect more trouble for global stock markets this year.

But is China really headed for a "hard landing" whereby their economy contracts sharply or perhaps even enters a full-blown recession?  Previously, I looked at the horoscope of the Shanghai stock exchange and found ample evidence for a significant decline in January.  The main Shanghai Index is has now fallen below 3000, a key technical support level.  Some analysts are now suggesting more downside to perhaps its previous low of 2000.  My assessment of this chart suggests that more downside is very likely this year.  The Saturn retrograde station in March will align closely with the Moon this chart, while the Uranus station (0 Aries) in the summer will square the natal Saturn (0 Capricorn).  Read more...


Can Trump really win?

(15 January 2016) The US Republican held its most recent debate last night with the first primary just two weeks away.  Frontrunner Donald Trump put in another strong performance and showed no signs of losing his hold on his formidable 20-point lead in national polls.  The populist real estate billionaire has enjoyed a huge lead in the polls since July and has continuously defied pundits who have frequently predicted his freewheeling campaign's imminent collapse.  Instead of undermining his popularity, however, his controversial and combative style has actually seen him rise in most polls as his anti-immigrant and anti-free trade message is resonating with many Americans. 

But can Trump maintain his lead now that it actually matters and people go to the polling booth to vote?  There are only two weeks remaining before the Iowa Caucus on February 1st., and then the New Hampshire primary is held the following week on February 9th.  The latest Iowa polls show that Trump in a very tight race with conservative Ted Cruz and while Trump leads his nearest rival by 18 points in New Hampshire.  Read more...


David Bowie 1947-2016

(11 January 2016) The world was saddened today by the passing of one-of-a-kind pop music icon David Bowie.  After a stellar music career that spanned six decades, Bowie succumbed to cancer at the age of 69.  For those us in the West who came of age in the 70s and 80s (and other decades too), the shocking news of his death made today a sad day.  Not only did Bowie sell tens of millions of albums, but he was incredibly influential for other artists as a pioneer of new forms of artistic expression.  His fearlessly independent and creative approach to music allowed him to re-invent his style many times throughout his storied career.

Simply put, David Bowie was born at a very auspicious time.  Bowie's horoscope clearly shows his artistic talents, his fame, and his independent nature.  As we know, each planet in astrology has a specific set of symbolisms and associations.  Artistic pursuits such as music are represented by the planet Venus. Any person who is artistically inclined therefore is likely to have a prominent Venus in their chart.  Read more...


Is 2016 going to be as bad as 2008?

(11 January 2016) Stocks fell sharply around the world last week as China's financial turmoil threatened to undermine the fragile economic recovery.  As China's devaluation of the Yuan sideswiped markets, US stocks had their worst start to the year in history falling 6% as the Dow closed at 16,346.  Indian stocks also slumped 4% as the Sensex fell below the key 25,000 level.  This outcome was in keeping with my stock forecast from last week as I thought the Mars-Mercury square aspect would likely cause some significant damage.  This was not just any old Mars-Mercury square, of course, but a particularly nasty one since Mercury turned retrograde on the very same day the 90 degree angle was exact!  Asian markets have extended their decline on Monday at this time of writing although European stocks are mixed.

To be sure, the New Year is off to a shaky start.   Is the six-year long bull market in stocks finally over?  One now reads more gloomy forecasts in the media that suggest that 2016 might even be a repeat of 2008 when the world economy came to brink of collapse.  My previous research on this subject suggests the odds are very high that most stock markets will decline significantly in 2016 and we could well see the end to this bull market in the US and Europe.  Read more...


Global markets decline after China's plunge stops trading

(4 January 2016) 2016 has started off on the wrong foot as global stocks declined sharply Monday following a plunge in the Chinese market that triggered circuit breakers and an early closing of the Shanghai Stock Exchange.  The decline is pretty much what I expected given the very difficult planetary alignment this week.  As I briefly mentioned in last week's market forecast and elaborated more fully in my subscriber newsletter, the Mars-Mercury square aspect was more likely to correlate with declines here because it was in effect for an unusually long time due to the approach of Mercury's retrograde station on Tuesday, January 5th.  

The retrograde station is the day in which Mercury stops its normal forward motion and then begins to reverse its direction in the sky from our perspective on Earth.  The Mercury retrograde cycle occurs every three months and lasts for about 20 days.   While its retrograde cycle is traditionally associated with miscommunication and failed plans, I have found the days around its stations to be more specifically relevant to the financial markets.  Read more...


New Year's Chart 2016: the year ahead

(1 January 2016) January 1st marks the beginning of a new year.  The celebrations and sense of renewal are a kind of collective rebirth for humanity as we forge ahead into the future.  This rebirth implies a fresh starting point which can be analyzed according to the principles of astrology.   From this first moment, we can cast a horoscope -- a map of the planets -- so that we may peer forward in time and look into the future.  Although the midnight chart is not based on any astronomical measurements, I have found it nonetheless can often be useful for getting a general sense of trends for the year ahead.

In last year's annual horoscope analysis, I suggested that the dominant Moon-Mars-Jupiter alignment might represent an acceptable or honorable use of military force.  This may well have reflected the growing global effort to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria that occurred in the second half of 2015.  The horrific actions of this terrorist organization have united most nations against it including past rivals such as Putin's Russia, Obama's America, as well as Muslim countries such as Turkey and the Gulf states.  Read more...


Is the sun setting on oil? An astrological price analysis

(28 December 2015) It is very tough times for the oil industry these days.  After trading north of $100 a barrel for much of the past five years, crude oil prices have collapsed since mid-2014 as OPEC increased supply while demand has fallen off a cliff.  Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate now both trade for less than $40, a level last seen in the depths of the economic meltdown in 2008.  The decade-long bull market in commodities like oil was closely tied with the emergence of China as an economic superpower but now that China is slowing, crude oil is suddenly much less valuable. 

The recovery of the US Dollar since 2014 is another part of the story since oil is priced in Dollars.  And if that wasn't enough, the historic climate change agreement recently signed in Paris suggests there may be a long term move away from fossil fuels.  While carbon taxes and pledges to cut oil consumption may not have an immediate impact on prices, it is an added source of concern for the oil industry.   Read more...


Yellen fulfills promise as Fed finally hikes rates

(21 December 2015)  As the most powerful woman in the world, Janet Yellen fulfilled her promise and finally delivered on the long-anticipated interest rate hike last week.  The Fed Chair announced the Federal Reserve would hike rates for the first time in nine years and thereby end the experimental zero interest rate policy that was launched in the depths of the meltdown in December 2008.  The hike to 0.25% was widely seen as positive as stocks markets around the world generally rose on the news of an improving US economy.  The unassuming Ms. Yellen has certainly come a long way since her senior year in high school in 1963 as she attempts to guide the global economy back to normal after the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

We can see from Yellen's horoscope how she may be feeling confident and having things go her way for the most part at the moment.  Jupiter (at 28 Leo) is slowing down and soon to station at 29 Leo in early January.  Read more...


Fed's Yellen in spotlight again as Sun enters Sagittarius

(14 December 2015) All eyes are on Fed Chair Janet Yellen this week as the long-awaiting rise in interest rates may finally come to pass.  After a false start in September in which the Fed apparently got scared off a hike after a sharp sell-off in world markets in August, the stage is set again for Yellen & Co. to pull the trigger and raise rates for the first time in 9 years.  The consensus view is that she will follow through this time and raise the trend-setting overnight lending rate 0.125% to 0.25%.  The larger question is what kind of language she uses to signal the pace of future hikes in 2016 and beyond.  Given the fragility of markets these days, there is a sense that she will do everything possible to downplay fears of a fast schedule of rate hikes which could wreak havoc in many financial markets. 

Interestingly, the Sun enters sidereal Sagittarius on the same day of the Fed announcement on Wednesday the 16th.  Sagittarius is a sign that is associated with optimism, and it is no coincidence that it is ruled by the planet Jupiter, which is known as the Great Benefic.  Read more...


Obama's address seeks to reassure Americans after ISIS attack on US

(8 December 2015) President Obama delivered a rare address to the nation from the Oval Office yesterday as he tried to reassure nervous Americans that he had a viable plan for combating ISIS.  The speech came just days after two ISIS-inspired terrorists shot and killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California.   Some pundits felt that he came up short in the address as he offered no new plans to fight ISIS in Syria and protect US citizens at home. 

Although Obama seems to have finally publicly acknowledged the seriousness of the threat that ISIS poses, many Americans are wondering if he has the necessary leadership skills for the task at hand.   Given Obama's apparent caution and tentativeness, it is perhaps not surprising that GOP candidate Donald Trump and his more belligerent, straight talk approach continues to ride high in the polls despite his sometimes outrageous utterances and casual approach to the truth.  There is an interesting yin-yang type relationship forming between Obama and Trump.    Just as Obama's election was partially a reaction to the errors of George Bush, now Trump's popularity may be seen as a reaction to Obama's subtle, more diplomatic approach.   Read more...


Euro soars as ECB disappoints

(7 December 2015) Markets were shaken last week as the ECB announced only cautious stimulus measures which fell short of expectations.  Investors were hoping that Mario Draghi would introduce more QE-type easing but instead he chose merely to extend the current program into 2017.  Most global stock markets fell on the news as European bourses lost 3% while the US market lost 1.5% and India also ended generally lower on the week.  While I thought we would see some midweek downside, the extent of the selling was a bit surprising given the typically bullish entry of Venus into sidereal Libra on Monday.   At least Friday was higher in the US as stocks surged 2% on a strong jobs report.  This coincided nicely with the late week Mercury-Jupiter alignment that I mentioned in last week's market forecast.

In my subscriber newsletter, I had suggested that the Euro was more likely to rise at the expense of the Dollar last week.  That is precisely what happened as the Euro enjoyed its biggest one-day gain in months as it climbed from 1.06 to 1.09 on Thursday after the disappointing Draghi announcement.  Read more...


Astrological perspectives on the Santa Claus rally

(30 November 2015) As we begin the month of December, investors are anticipating the greater likelihood of improved stock market returns due to the traditional Santa Claus rally.  Research on seasonal variation in returns has shown that December tends to outperform most other months of the year in US markets.  In particular, the week between Christmas and New Year's tends to be most bullish as stocks have posted an average gain of 1.5% in that short five-day period. Nobody knows exactly why stocks tend to rise in December although several plausible theories have been suggested including holiday optimism, reduced trading volumes and year-end accounting and tax considerations.

I would also offer an astrological explanation for the relative buoyancy of stocks during December, particularly the second half.  That is: the Sun transits through sidereal Sagittarius between December 15 and January 13 (+/- 1 day).  The reason why the Sun's transit of Sagittarius should tend to be positive is that according to astrological tradition, Sagittarius is said to be "ruled" by the planet Jupiter.  Read more...


Paris terror attacks: Mars-Rahu strikes again

(15 November 2015) France is reeling after the second terrorist attack in less than a year killed 129 people and wounded 350 others in Paris on Friday.  The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks which it said were retaliation for France's participation in US-led coalition against ISIS in Syria.  Responding to the shock and horror of the event, French President Francois Hollande has called the attacks an act of war and has vowed to respond without mercy.  It seems clear that there will now be an intensification of the West's battle with ISIS as the 'clash of civilizations' appears to be entering a new and more violent chapter.

While I did not specifically predict this attack, I was not surprised when it occurred given the difficult condition of the horoscope of France this year.  After the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in January, I had written that 2015 would likely be stressful for France and that the rest of the year would have an "ongoing sense of unease and frustration".   Read more...


Venus enters Libra: research in financial astrology

(16 November 2015) So far, so Virgo.  Or more precisely, Venus in Virgo.  Ever since Venus began its transit of sidereal Virgo on 3rd November, most global stock markets have fallen.  In some cases, such as in the US and Europe, the entry date came very close to the interim high whereas other markets such as India's has seen declines that began in October extended further. 

In any event, the bearish influence of the transit of Venus in Virgo appears to be confirmed yet again.  As I have shown in a previous stock market analysis, recent incidents of this once-a-year transit have correlated with declines.  The four-week-long transit of Venus in Virgo has correlated with declines in each of the last six years.  The astrological reasoning is fairly simple: Venus is seen as the planet of money and value and traditionally it is said to do poorly in Virgo, which is considered its sign of debilitation.  Amazingly, this very basic one-factor model of stock market movements has generally outweighed most other planetary factors.   Read more..


Gold falls further: more evidence for financial astrology

(9 November 2015) The steep sell-off in gold last week was a nice confirmation of the inner workings of financial astrology.  Despite the beauty of this Gustav Klimt painting, Gold plunged 4% on the week closing below $1100 for the first time since August.  In last week's post, I thought the chances were good that gold would likely decline given the difficult situation of the planet of Venus.  

In financial astrology, Venus is one of the main planetary significators for the price of gold (along with women and art, of course!) and when it is under pressure gold typically declines.  I had noted that Venus entered its sidereal sign of debilitation on Tuesday November 3rd.  This sign transit of Virgo lasts four weeks and is often a bearish indicator.  To top it off, Venus also conjoined Mars just the day before and was still minutes of arc past its exact conjunction.  As a malefic planet, the proximity of Mars to Venus is also a factor that often depresses gold as my investigation of previous Venus-Mars conjunctions showed fairly clearly.  As a consequence of this alignment, gold fell sharply on Tuesday as it broke a key technical support level.  Read more...


Predicting the price of gold through the Venus-Mars conjunction

(2 November 2015)  It's not a good time to be a gold bug these days.  After peaking in 2011 above $1900, gold has since fallen 40% and shows few signs of returning to those lofty levels.  Not even recent strong hints from the European Central Bank (ECB) that it will begin a new round of QE managed to do much for the yellow metal.  With official inflation still below 2% in most developed economies, there is less need for the safe haven as a traditional storehouse of value.  While recent currency volatility has made gold somewhat more attractive to investors in emerging markets and other commodity-based economies, its value as measured in US Dollars remains low.  Gold took it on the chin again today as it declined $8 closing at $1133. 

As I have noted in previous posts, there are many astrological factors to consider when accounting for fluctuations in the price of gold.  Certain horoscopes figure prominently such as the chart for the first London gold fix in 1919 and the chart of the first US futures trade in 1974.  There are also any number of simple transit influences on gold.  Read more...


New House Speaker Paul Ryan faces US debt ceiling showdown

(26 October 2015)  And so it begins again.  The annual political wrangling to raise the US debt ceiling is now in full swing as both parties vie for advantage before the November 3rd deadline.  Since the US government must rely on borrowed money to stay solvent, Congress's failure to raise the debt ceiling would cause a default.  Previous debt ceiling crises occurred in 2011 and 2013 and brought sharp declines in the stock markets before 11th-hour compromises were finally found.  As always, Republicans are loathe to sign off on the ever-increasing debt load and are seeking fiscal concessions from the Democrats.  Of course, many Republicans also do not want to to see the US default on its debt as the financial consequences could hurt the whole country in the form of financial instability, lowered credit ratings and higher borrowing costs on its bonds. 

As an added wrinkle, this year's game of political chicken in Washington, DC will feature a new Speaker of the House.  Paul Ryan will likely be formally elected on Thursday as he replaces outgoing John Boehner.  Read more...


Justin Trudeau: Canada's new Prime Minster

(21 October 2015)  Canada elected a new Prime Minister on Monday as voters sent Liberal Party newcomer Justin Trudeau to Ottawa to serve as the country's 23rd Prime Minister.   The charismatic 43-year old son of former PM Pierre Trudeau ousted Conservative Stephen Harper in a stunning victory as Trudeau brought the 3rd place Liberal Party back to power with a majority government.  Although he was initially seen as inexperienced and trading on his father's fame, Trudeau gained support through the campaign as he focused on positive change for the country after nine years of often uninspired Conservative rule.

So what kind of leader will Justin Trudeau be?  His horoscope suggests he is may a natural gift for political life, irrespective of his family background.  Leo, the sign of leadership, rises in the 1st house.  His Ascendant at 10 Leo is just four degrees from a conjunction with the fixed star Regulus.  Traditionally, Regulus has long been regarded as one of the four royal stars in the sky and is said to confer leadership qualities.  The lord of the 1st house is the Sun and it is powerfully placed in the 5th house of politics in Sagittarius.   Read more...


Financial markets stable as Venus prepares to enter Virgo

(18 October 2015)  When used wisely and judiciously, financial astrology can be a useful tool to investors.  While no one can predict the direction of the market 100% of the time, there are many well-established correlations which have a good track record of prediction.  One of these is the transit of Venus through the sign of Virgo.  Or more specifically, through the sign of sidereal (star-based) Virgo as is commonly used in Vedic astrology in India.  Western astrology employs the tropical (i.e. seasons-based) zodiac but evidence suggests that this correlation does not hold in that system.

I have found that stock markets generally do poorly during the four weeks that Venus transits through Virgo.  In financial astrology, Venus is considered the planet of money and value.  When it is well placed and unafflicted, stocks are more likely to rise.  However, when it comes under pressure from malefic planets like Mars or Saturn, stocks are more likely to decline.  And since Virgo is traditionally believed to be a sign where Venus is said to be debilitated, its transit of Virgo is similarly bad for stock markets around the world.   Read more...


Jobs report disappoints: could the US be heading into a recession?

(5 October 2015) Friday's disappointing US jobs report is the Fed's worst nightmare.  Despite six years of near-zero interest rates and $4 Trillion worth of QE-style money printing, the US economy only added 142,000 new jobs in September, a number well below expectations and the key 200K level.  The US economy therefore remains very fragile and could tip into recession if global economic headwinds get worse.  The conundrum for the Federal Reserve is that it could be trapped at zero percent here with little room to maneuver in the event of another major economic slowdown.  The Fed had been promising for many months to raise rates back towards normal levels as the economy strengthened in late 2015.  Now that seems increasingly unlikely as the Fed may well be forming contingency plans for perhaps another round of quantitative easing (QE4) or even the dreaded nuclear option of negative interest rates.

But is the US economy really headed for another recession?  The horoscope of the US may offer some insights on this question.  To be sure, it is very difficult to extrapolate economic activity based on planetary transits alone.  Read more...


Supermoon draws blood on Wall St.

(28 September 2015)  Sunday night's 'Supermoon' seems to have sparked a big sell-off across most European and US stock markets today.  The Blood Moon (or 'Supermoon') is a fairly rare celestial event that occurs when a lunar eclipse coincides with the lunar perigee when the Moon makes its closest approach to the Earth.  The result is a bigger than normal sized full moon that appears red in colour as the shadow of the eclipsed Earth passes over it.  It certainly makes an impressive and beautiful nighttime display.  And there is no shortage of symbolic angst and dread attached to it, including passages from the Bible.

The Dow lost 2% on the day finishing near that crucial level of 16,000.  Indian stocks were infected only briefly with the lunar malaise as the Sensex lost 1% in the afternoon closing at 25,617.  Read more...


Markets dazed and confused by Fed as Mercury turns retrograde

(21 September 2015)  Is the Janet Yellen losing her touch?  Or more to the point, is the Fed losing control of financial markets?  Most global markets declined last week after the Fed Chair chose to leave interest rates unchanged at zero percent after citing concerns over the state of the Chinese economy and iffy US data.  The usually reassuring and dovish Fed Chair left investors puzzled and anxious as she painted a more sober picture of the economy than expected.  There also appears to be growing confusion over which criteria the Fed is using to time its eventual interest rate hike.  Besides US inflation and employment data, the Fed now seems to be including China into its calculus for when the "lift off" in interest rates will finally take place after six years of ZIRP.  This was a change in messaging and left many confused about just how or when the Fed will rate hikes, if they ever do. 

In last week's financial forecast, I thought the planetary influences argued somewhat for a hike given the strong Saturn influences here.  However, I noted a possible alternative view whereby the dominance of Saturn could restrain the Fed from making any move at all out of fear of damaging confidence and crashing the stock market.  Read more...


Will she or won't she?: Yellen's difficult choice

(14 September 2015)  All eyes are on the Fed this week (yet again!) as investors wonder: will she or won't she?  Fed Chair Janet Yellen has been leaving a trail of fairly strong hints in recent months that an interest rate hike is coming sometime this year and possibly as soon as Thursday.  The Fed's policy statement will be released on Thursday at 2 p.m. as it reveals if the unprecedented six-year long zero interest rate policy is finally over.  Analysts and commentators are sharply divided on this question, although it seems that the consensus position is that she will leave it unchanged for a bit longer and raise it either in October or December. 

It's unclear what the market's reaction to a hike might be, although most believe it could spark some sort of decline.  That said, enough traders have already discounted the possible 25 basis point hike (yes, that's just 0.25% at the low end of the range) that any decline will be fairly orderly and perhaps even modest. 

So what does astrology have to say about the probability of a rate hike on Thursday?  Read more...


Germany welcomes Middle East refugees

(9 September 2015) As the European refugee crisis continues to dominate the headlines, Germany has emerged as the world's conscience in responding to the scenes of desperation played out in various locales.   The Merkel government has pledged to accept at least 500,000 refugees from Syria and Iraq as the flood of displaced persons from that war-ravaged region shows no signs of abating. 

The refugee crisis is still a divisive issue within the European Union as some countries have been more open to receiving refugees than others.  Even within Germany, significant parts of the population are skeptical about the ability of the country to absorb such a large number of newcomers who differ from natives in terms of language, religion and culture.  But for now, it seems most of the German people are welcoming the refugees with open arms in an inspiring display of their common humanity.

When this story first drew worldwide attention last week, I wasn't sure what the astrological angle might be.  Read more...


Predicting inflation: the lessons of German hyperinflation in the 1920s

(6 September 2015)  One of the financial paradoxes in recent years is why there has been no significant (official) inflation in most Western countries despite massive efforts to print money by the Fed, the ECB and various other central banks around the world.   Many observers were wary of the Fed's various QE programs to kickstart the economy after the 2008 meltdown since they believed it would cause inflation to rise to dangerous levels.  Indeed, the Fed's unprecedented QE bond-buying program was one the main reasons why gold rose to all time highs in 2011 as the traditional inflation hedge came to within a stone's throw of $2000.  As more investors realized that inflation was as tame as ever (below 2%, at least officially), gold prices began to fall back to earth.  Now gold trades close to $1100. 

There are many reasons why inflation never really got going in developed economies but perhaps the most important was that the economy was just so weak after the Great Recession, the expansion of the money supply was barely enough to even keep the economy afloat.  Read more...


Markets recover after China cuts rates

(31 August 2015)  Stock markets recovered last week after Monday's scary plunge.  The Chinese government intervened in the markets once again and this time it actually seemed to work as the interest rate cut and looser bank capital requirements restored business confidence.  The Dow briefly fell below 16,000 early in the week and ended at 16,540.  India's BSE-Sensex traded below 26,000 for the first time since summer 2014 and finished at 26,283.  In last week's financial forecast, I suggested some possibility of a midweek recovery on the Sun-Jupiter conjunction.  This appeared to broadly coincide with the rebound after Monday's decline.  But I had been fairly skeptical about the week overall given the Mercury-Rahu influence and its possible connection with Saturn.  In other words, stocks ended somewhat stronger than I had expected.

So is the worst over?  I doubt it.   The strong Saturn influence is still going to shape investor sentiment in the weeks to come.  Read more...


Stocks finally succumb to Saturn

(23 August 2015)  Stock markets tanked last week as investors began to seriously ponder the possibility of a full-blown recession in China.  US stocks experienced their biggest weekly decline since 2011 with the Dow falling more than 5% to 16,459.  Most global markets shared in the near-panic although India lost a more modest 3% on the week with the BSE Sensex finishing at 27,366.  In last week's market forecast, I thought the late week could be problematic on the Sun-Saturn square aspect.  This definitely was the case, although I did not fully expect a decline of this magnitude.  As expected, we did see some early week gains although they proved to be very fleeting. 

As I have noted previously, the summer of 2015 was bound to be difficult for most markets due to an unusual series of Saturn aspectsRead more...


The link between China's devaluation and the Tianjin explosion

(16 August 2015) Last week saw an unusual coincidence of events in China.  On Tuesday, China's central bank surprised global financial markets and devalued its currency.  On Wednesday, there was a huge industrial explosion in the port city of Tianjin that killed over a hundred people.  While these two events were unrelated in fact, they do have common astrological origins due to afflictions in the horoscope of China. Specifically, I would say they are the result of close aspects to the Ascendant in this chart.

First, we can see this devaluation and its fallout in the horoscope of China.  Using the October 1, 1949 chart, the Ascendant (8 Capricorn) suffers a double affliction from the transits of malefic Rahu (North Lunar Node) and Mars.  Read more...


The rise of Donald Trump: Jupiter meets Mars

(11 August 2015)  The race for the nomination for US Republican Party entered a new phase last weekend after the first televised candidates debate on Fox. The ten leading candidates participated in the debate but in the end it was all about Donald Trump, the outspoken real estate mogul and reality TV star who has unexpectedly emerged as the frontrunner in the polls.  Despite widespread criticism for his comments, Trump's combative exchanges with debate moderator Megyn Kelly seems to only have re-affirmed his role as the dominant candidate in the GOP race as his lead in the polls has widened even further.  Clearly Trump's message is resonating with many conservative Americans who feel angry about the state of the country and alienated from their own government.

Not only is Trump a party outsider and a loose cannon on many issues, the possibility that he could win the nomination would probably be bad news for Republicans since polls show that Trump does worse when matched head-to-head against the likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton compared with almost all other GOP candidates.  Read more...


Running the Saturn gauntlet: China woes and the world economy

(9 August 2015)  The world's economic engine is showing more signs of running out of gas. The latest Chinese economic data revealed a declining manufacturing output for the third straight month.  The Caixin PMI figure is now below the 50 threshold thus indicating economic contraction. With the Chinese government increasingly desperate to support the plunging stock market by any means necessary, there is more evidence that all is not right in the Middle Kingdom.  As China slows, the risk of a global recession rises.

Back in my spring stock market forecast, I wondered what changes might lie ahead given the rising influence of Saturn during the summer months.  Saturn is a malefic planet that is usually front and center in tense or difficult situations where our wishes are denied and lessons are only leaned the hard way.  I thought that the last aspect of Jupiter (with Uranus and then Venus) in late June might mark the end of a relatively stable period in the world.  Without any prominent Jupiter aspects in the mix for a while, bearish Saturn would be free to call the shots as it formed a series of aspects throughout the next three months.  I thought stock markets could decline around the world.  Read more...


US stocks dive on China worries

(26 July 2015) Global stock markets slumped last week as worries about the implications of a slowdown in China caused some investors to hit the sell button. US stocks fell by 2% as the Dow finished the week at 17,568 while Indian equities slipped 1% as the BSE-Sensex ended at 28,112. Ironically, Chinese stocks extended their recent rebound despite weak economic data as the Shanghai Composite again moved above 4000.  Gold declined sharply on reduced inflation expectations and finished below $1100.

I had been fairly equivocal in last week's stock market forecast, although I hinted at some potential trouble spots from malefics Saturn and Mars.  In keeping with the negative symbolism of Mars, Friday's Mars-Uranus aspect coincided closely with a significant down day on most world markets. Gold's 3% decline on the week was also in line with last week's predictions given the difficult Venus-Saturn aspect.  Venus is one of the planets most associated with gold prices, and when it is aligned with Saturn, it usually signals declines.  This was clearly the case last week.  Read more...


Gold falls to lowest level since 2010

(19 July 2015)  Stock markets breathed a sigh of relief last week after a late night bailout deal was finally reached between the EU and Greece.  While financial chaos was averted, the distrust and enmity in the Eurozone is now plain to see.  The EU has lost its innocence and may well be on its way to a more profound shake-up as a growing number of countries no longer want to subsidize a bankrupt Greece.  Global stocks rallied on the news of Monday's deal, but other financial markets took a more negative long term view. The Euro itself fell further as currency traders pondered the viability of the monetary union in the long run.  Gold also fell through a key support level as investors preferred the US Dollar as a safe haven.  

In last week's stock market forecast, I thought we might have seen more declines in stocks as the midweek alignment of Mercury-Mars-Pluto looked troublesome.  The early week entry of Jupiter into sidereal Leo was bullish as I thought it might be, and this reflected the optimism of Monday's overnight deal.  The collective fallout of Mercury-Mars-Pluto was perhaps better reflected in the assertion of Germany's power and the lingering ill will that the agreement generated.  Read more...


Germany asserts its power against Greece

(12 July 2015)  Sunday has now come and gone in Brussels without any decision on the possible bailout deal between Greece and the European Union.  Sunday had been touted as the 'final deadline' for a negotiated settlement, but perhaps no one should really be surprised that everything is still very much up in the air. The sticking point now is that Germany's Angela Merkel and the other fiscal hawks in the EU want more guarantees that Greece will abide by the measures outlined in the bailout. 

The quixotic and unpredictable behaviour of Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and his former Financial Varoufakis in recent weeks has caused an erosion of trust at the bargaining table which is now an impediment to any deal.  His referendum ploy backfiring badly, Tsipras now has to agree to even more austerity and exceptional conditions on this latest bailout offer or else leave the Eurozone.  There is growing talk that Germany and its fiscally conservative allies in the EU actually want a 'Grexit' and are attaching so many unpalatable conditions for Greece that Tsipras will have to be the one to walk out first.

In last week's post, I suggested that the astrological alignments in the key charts suggested that a quick and simple negotiated bailout was unlikely in the coming days.  Read more...


Greece says No to EU bailout

(5 July 2015)  With the strong No vote in today's EU bailout referendum, the Greek people have taken a giant leap of faith into the unknown.  Following the lead of their popular left wing PM Alexis Tsipras, Greeks have issued a stunning rebuke to the status quo in Europe as they rejected austerity imposed from without in favour of self-determination.  But what will happen next is anyone's guess, as the EU must now prepare a response to the referendum result at an emergency meeting on Tuesday.

Will the EU cave in once again to preserve the integrity of Eurozone to avoid financial chaos and make actually a better offer to Tsipras?  Or will Merkel and Hollande take a tougher stand and carry through with their threat to let Greece default and thereby hasten the departure of Greece from the Eurozone?  It seems unlikely that there will be any quick resolution to the crisis, even if one or the other of these or any other paths is taken.  There are just too many variables here and too many ways things could go wrong.   Read more...


Venus and Jupiter align for Obama's perfect week

(28 June 2015) It's been a very good week for US President Barack Obama.  First, he successfully got Congress to agree to fast track approval for the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an Asian free trade agreement.  Then at the end of the week, the Supreme Court handed down landmark decisions on Obamacare and gay marriage that furthered his political agenda and enhanced his presidential legacy.  Friday also featured one of his most moving and powerful speeches when he eulogized the pastor who was killed in last week's racially-motivated mass shooting at a South Carolina church.  The most touching and stirring moment of the eulogy occurred when the President spontaneously began to sing "Amazing Grace"  to the joyous delight of the assembled congregation.

When you have weeks like this, you can usually bet on a pretty obvious and clear astrological explanation.  Read more...


Greece moves to the brink as EU talks collapse

(28 June 2015) The hang-wringing in Europe reached a fever pitch today as Greece took one very big step closer to default and possibly leaving the Eurozone.  Greek Prime Minister Tsipras shocked the Troika (EU, ECB, IMF) on Friday by suddenly pulling out of negotiations and calling for a referendum to be held on 5th July on the final bailout offer.  He has called the offer "humiliating" and is asking his people to vote "No".  A No vote would ratchet up the pressure even more as Greece would likely have to default on its debt.  After that, any number of scenarios are possible, including the much-talked about Grexit from the Eurozone. 

It's a very fluid and confusing situation at this time (Sunday afternoon EDT) and no one really knows what will happen next.  Greek banks are closing for the week in an effort to restore calm and prevent a chaotic bank run.  Read more...


Jupiter aligns with Uranus: a signal of change?

(21 June 2015) Stock markets were generally higher last week as the Fed reasserted its commitment to predictable but cautious hikes in interest rates later in the year.  Despite ongoing uncertainty about what might happen in Greece, the Dow gained 1% on the week closing at 18,014.  Indian stocks were even stronger as early indications of the monsoon season looked positive.  The Sensex rose 3% before settling at 27,316. 

The outcome was not too surprising as I thought gains would be more likely in the second half of the week.  As expected, the early part of the week saw some fallout from the Sun-Mars conjunction, although the negative sentiment only lasted for about one day.  Thursday was probably the most positive day of the week, with gains peaking a little before Friday's Moon-Venus-Jupiter alignment.  Read more...


Magna Carta: 800 years of liberty

(15 June 2015)  Eight hundred years ago today, on 15 June 1215, the Magna Carta was given the royal seal by King John of England in response to a revolt by the nobility.  The Magna Carta (Great Charter) is considered the foundation of the Western system of laws and democracy and began the codification of individual legal rights.   Following years of legal abuses and arbitrary taxation by the widely hated King John, the nobles drew up the document that asserted that no man, including the King, should be above the law of the land.  All subsequent revolutions in the English speaking world which sought to expand individual rights and liberties would cite the Magna Carta as its guiding inspiration.

Incredibly, the planets at the time of the royal assent to the Magna Carta show a stunningly clear picture of its historic intent and significance.   We don't know what time King John affixed the document with his beeswax seal, but the noon chart is good enough for our purposes.  Read more...


Lessons of financial astrology: the case of Bill Gross

(14 June 2015)  Bill Gross has to be wondering about his luck these days.  The former superstar Chief Investment Officer of PIMCO had earned the nickname "The Bond King" during the past twenty years as his company became the largest bond fund in the world.  His luck started to sour in 2011 when he made a very public call to get out of all US Treasuries in anticipation of rising interest rates and greater inflation as a result of the Federal Reserve's ongoing QE policy.   This decision proved to be disastrously wrong as Treasuries rallied further and yields fell to record lows.  As a result, PIMCO returns suffered and a growing number of investors withdrew their assets.  Things got so bad that Gross was forced to leave the firm in September of last year and now manages the much smaller Janus fund. 

Gross' fortunes appeared to be improving recently with a brilliant call to short German government bonds (Bunds).   Read more...


Storm clouds ahead for the Fed?

 (7 June 2015)  It's a difficult road these days for Janet Yellen and her team at the US Federal Reserve.  Seven years after the 2008 economic meltdown and the beginning of its unprecedented policy of zero interest rates and then quantitative easing (QE), the US economy is still shaky.  Some economic indicators like unemployment look pretty good (5.5%) but we're a long way from where we were before the Great Recession.  GDP is struggling at 2% per year, wages haven't recovered, housing is still down, and economic inequality is greater than it ever was. Economic insecurity appears to be at an all-time high as more people are either on food stamps or living paycheck-to-paycheck.

The problem for Yellen and her colleagues is that they desperately want to claim victory over this recession and "normalize" interest rates, if for no other reason than to have some breathing room in the case the economy tanks again and they have to cut rates again.  But many economists fear that a rate hike now will stifle this fledgling recovery and cause a huge market sell-off which could have major consequences for the financial sector (e.g. pension funds).  Read more...


Sepp Blatter resigns from FIFA

(2 June 2015)  FIFA president Sepp Blatter resigned in disgrace today as corruption charges continued to swirl around the beleaguered football organization.  Despite being re-elected as president just days ago, Blatter succumbed to the growing pressure to clean house from players, media and perhaps most importantly of all, corporate sponsors.  Blatter had been president for fifteen years during which time rumours abounded that FIFA was immersed in a culture of bribery and corruption. 

Not surprisingly, Blatter's horoscope shows significant problems at this time. His transit chart shows Saturn (6 Scorpio) moving closer to his equal 4th house cusp (square to the Ascendant at 2 Leo) at the bottom of the chart.  Saturn tends to create more havoc in the 4th house which represents peace of mind and happiness.  Saturn symbolizes obstacles and suffering so its location close to the 4th cusp is what one would expect from a situation where happiness is denied.  Read more...


Hillary Clinton announces her 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?  Read more...


Andreas Lubitz and the tragedy of Germanwings 9525

(29 March 2015)  In the end, Andreas Lubitz got what he wanted.  The 27-year old Germanwings pilot had told a former girlfriend that he wanted to make a spectacular gesture so that 'everyone would know his name'.  The world has recoiled in shock and horror on learning that Lubitz deliberately crashed his plane into the French Alps killing himself and all the other 149 people on board on March 24.  It has now emerged that young pilot had hidden his history of clinical depression from his employer in order to keep his job.

There is some uncertainty about the the birth date of Andreas Lubitz.   Some sources report he was born on 18 December 1987 while others say he was born on 28 December, in the town of Montabaur, Germany.  I prefer the chart for 18 December for reasons I outline below.  As an additional obstacle, his birth time is unknown so a full analysis of his horoscope is impossible. However, even his birth date chart reveal some major planetary stresses for the present time.   Read more...









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