Archive 2013

The Venus retrograde cycle: what does it mean for you?

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

 

Fed considers QE taper again as Venus turns retrograde

(15 December 2013)  To taper or not to taper?  That is the question - again!  With another Fed meeting slated for this week, the never-ending debate about whether the Fed will reduce its QE program is front and center once again.  With the employment data is showing more strength lately, will Bernanke and Co. finally begin to reduce their bond purchases which has been one of the main drivers of the current market rally?  Or is the Fed still concerned about a possible negative market reaction which would push interest rates higher as happened in May and June when Bernanke first floated the prospect of a taper? 

Opinion seems split on whether the Fed will have the courage to finally start to wind down its stimulus program.  Recent weakness in the markets reflects the fact that some investors are reducing their holdings in anticipation of a taper.  A QE taper will reduce the liquidity and will likely cause stocks to fall.  How much stocks may decline is unknowable, although it may depend on the wording in Wednesday's 2 p.m. statement.  A more hawkish tone would suggest that the days of easy money are numbered and that the Fed is increasingly wary of the risks of an asset bubble.  Such a tone could hit stocks hard.  More dovish talk, however, and a steady-as-she-goes message would likely push stocks higher, or at least allow them to maintain their current lofty levels.   Read more...


Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

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

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

Mandela was probably born with the Moon in late Libra.   Read more...



Is Bitcoin the new gold for the internet age?

(3 December 2013)  The virtual currency Bitcoin (symbol: BTC) is riding high on a lot buzz right now.  And with good reason.  On November 29th, the value of one Bitcoin ($1242) briefly exceeded the value of an ounce of gold which traded at $1240 on that day.  It was a potential watershed moment in the sudden explosive rise of Bitcoin which was launched back in January 2009.  At that time, one Bitcoin had a value of less than a tenth of a cent. 

The explanation for the growing popularity of the currency is related to several factors -- the growth of online commerce, the recognition of the need for an alternative to government-issued fiat currencies which are prone to debasement over time, and a desire by some users for anonymous online transactions which no other currency or payment method currently satisfies.  But is Bitcoin just a newly-minted Ponzi scheme that is doomed to collapse or does Bitcoin represent a viable alternative to gold as a store of value?

From an astrological perspective, Bitcoin presents some intriguing challenges of interpretation.  Read more...


Gold tumbles to $1240 on renewed Fed taper talk

(24 November 2013)  Gold is coming off another bad week as the traditional safe haven investment lost more than 3% closing near $1240.  Gold declined because of some bearish comments contained in the minutes of the previous meeting of the Federal Reserve.  The minutes suggested that the Fed is moving closer to reducing its QE stimulus program as the US economy gradually recovers.   As a rule, gold prices tend to rise when inflation worries are high and tend to fall during times when inflation is not an issue.  The possible end to the Fed's money printing would reduce inflation expectations, strengthen the Dollar and thereby depress the price of gold.

As I have noted on several previous occasions this year, the current planetary alignment is not favourable for gold.  If we use the horoscope of the first London gold price back in 1919, we can see some major afflictions.   Read more...


50 years since Dallas: JFK assassination anniversary rekindles America's fascination

(16 November 2013)  America's enduring fascination with President John F. Kennedy returns to the fore this week as the nation observes the 50th anniversary of his assassination.  Kennedy's death in Dallas on November 22, 1963 left an indelible mark on the country as the hope and youthful optimism of his administration soon disintegrated into social turbulence, distrust of government and widespread alienation.  While the 1960s would eventually bring about progressive and necessary changes to the US, many Americans feel that JFK's death was a turning point after which things would never be the same.  Americans may therefore look back nostalgically at the Kennedy era as a happier time before things started go wrong for the country in Vietnam, the inner city ghettos, and the various failed social experiments of the 1960s.  Not surprisingly, recent polls still show JFK as the most popular president of the 20th century.

The astrological perspective suggests the JFK mystique may well have a planetary basis.  JFK's horoscope is well known so there is no need for any detailed examination here.  Suffice to say his commanding and inspiration presence is seen through the close conjunction of Saturn and Neptune close to the 10th house cusp (career, status).   Read more...


Yellen in Senate hearing; Venus and Pluto lay celestial groundwork

(17 November 2013)  Fed Chair nominee Janet Yellen appeared in confirmation hearings before the Senate banking committee last week.   Yellen performed well in the hearings and is widely expected to be confirmed as the next Chair of the Federal Reserve and replace Ben Bernanke, whose term ends on January 31.  Yellen's horoscope (August 13, 1946, time unknown) suggests she is generally a cautious and intelligent person.  Mercury (intellect) is closely conjunct Saturn (order, discipline) in the sign of Cancer.  This gives her an ability to think deeply and carefully about problems. 

Interestingly, her stellium of planets in Virgo (Venus, Mars, Neptune, Jupiter) are similar disposed by Mercury (which rules Virgo) and hence the Saturn influence is reinforced again.  While we don't know her Ascendant, we can see that her Moon in Aquarius further enhances this Saturn influence since  Aquarius is ruled by Saturn.  The importance of Saturn in her chart is bumped up another notch since the Moon and Saturn exchange signs -- Saturn is in the Moon's sign of Cancer while the Moon is in Saturn's sign.   Read more...



Twitter launches IPO under auspicious stars; stock jumps 73%

(9 November 2013)  The big news in the financial world this week was the launch of the Twitter IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.  Twitter (TWTR) became a publicly traded company on Thursday, November 7 at 10.49 a.m. when the first trade was completed at a price of $45.10.  This represented a stunning 70% increase over the IPO offering price of $26.  The Twitter launch had been the most anticipated IPO since Facebook went public last May.   Unlike Facebook, however, Twitter's massive stock offering went off without a hitch.  Despite the impressive gain on the first day, the stock actually slipped 7% in Friday's trade and closed at $42. What does the future hold for Twitter, both as a stock and as a company?  Let's take a look at the first trade chart. 

Ideally, the first trade chart should show two things: 1) it should reflect the basic nature of the company in question and 2) it should provide information on the probable trajectory of the company as evidenced through the ups and downs of its stock price.   As we can see from the Twitter chart, there are some very appropriate placements given Twitter's role as a computer-based communication company.   Read more...


Neptune in focus: ACA fallout grows as Obama's integrity is questioned

(3 November 2013)  It was another difficult week for President Barack Obama as it became more evident that millions of Americans would be losing their health insurance plans under the new rules of the Affordable Care Act.  This inconvenient fact is at odds with numerous promises Obama made over the past three years when he insisted that no one would lose their existing plan. 

While political allies continue to find ways to defend Obama, there is a growing sense in the middle of the political spectrum that something is seriously amiss in the brave new world of Obamacare that goes beyond the bungled website roll-out.  The main television networks are beginning to run stories about the widespread loss of plans, as well as consumer sticker shock as prices have unexpectedly risen significantly for many people.  Worse still, more commentators are wondering aloud if Obama may have lied to the public about the implications of the ACA for political expediency.  While a more forgiving perspective would suggest that it was a "miscommunication", the political fallout has been significant as Obama's approval ratings continue to fall back towards their all-time lows in the low 40s.

Obama's recent difficulties here are a reflection of the current planetary alignments.   Read more...


Oil falls below $100 on Saturn aspect

(27 October 2013)  US stocks rose again last week on positive earnings reports and weak economic data that likely further postponed any Fed tapering into 2014.  The Dow was up more than 1% closing at 15,570.  Indian stocks eased off somewhat on profit taking as the Sensex finished at 20,683.   This more mixed picture was in keeping with expectations as I thought the separating Mercury-Jupiter aspect could coincide with diminishing optimism. 

Crude oil fell below $100 last week for the first time since June as it finally returned to its pre-Syrian crisis trading range.  Oil has declined 10% over the past month as the risk premium has slowly come off.  Interestingly, we can see how this recent pullback is reflected in the natal chart of crude oil futures.  Crude oil futures began trading in 1983 and therefore we can view the resulting horoscope as a kind of birth chart from which subsequent price movements may be deduced.   Read more...


GOP surrenders as shutdown ends; Obamacare still under fire

(20 October 2013)  The US government shutdown came to an end last week as a deal was hammered out on the day before the debt ceiling deadline.  Without much real bargaining power, the GOP essentially surrendered on almost every point under discussion.  Obamacare was left intact and no serious cuts were made in the budget.  Both sides agreed to postpone further budgetary talks until early 2014.   It was clearly a political victory for President Obama who enjoyed a much-needed win after a string of setbacks in recent months.   

Last week, I wrote that the current transit picture in Obama's chart suggested the possibility of some last-minute complications in negotiations.  Alternatively, I thought that some of the tension in the President's chart might also manifest as more fallout from the Obamacare roll-out.  It was this latter scenario that turned out to fulfill the planetary promise as the White House and Health Secretary Kathleen Sibelius has come under increased criticism for the problem-filled roll-out of the long-awaited Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Read more...


US government stalemate continues; Obamacare roll-out underwhelms

(13 October 2013)  As the US government shutdown threatens to move into its third week, one wonders when it is all going to end.  Hopes were raised at the end of last week as the House GOP  tabled on offer to Obama but that was eventually rejected.  Now the focus has shifted to the Senate as both sides attempt to reconcile the need to avert a debt ceiling default on October 17th while trying to make political gains for their respective parties.   As I have suggested in previous posts, a quick win here by President Obama and the Democrats looks unlikely given the difficulties in his horoscope.  Obama's Sun is under the heavy influence of a Saturn transit for much of the month of October, so that would seemingly argue against a full-blown GOP surrender and a big White House win in this latest political scuffle.

I say "seemingly" because there are actually any number of real world events and situations that could reflect the Sun-Saturn tension in Obama's chart.  The current criticisms about his leadership do not necessarily have to reflect the stand-off with the Republicans over the shutdown and debt ceiling.  Read more...


US government shuts down as debt ceiling deadline looms

(6 October 2013)  The shutdown showdown in Washington shows no signs of ending anytime soon.  American's ongoing budget fight entered its sixth day today as both Obama and Boehner refused to budge in their respective positions.  Boehner is demanding a one-year delay to the unpopular Obamacare program while the President is having none of it as the Affordable Care Act may well be the only lasting legacy of his presidency.   A complicating factor here is that the US debt ceiling deadline of 17 October is fast approaching.  If the two sides cannot also agree to raise the debt ceiling that allows for more government borrowing, then the US will default on its debt.  This possibility is widely seen as far more disruptive than the shutdown as global financial markets would likely react very badly to such a default. 

So what are the chances of a default?  Most commentators do not expect it is going to happen.  It is very much the 'nuclear option' that both sides will want to avoid since a default may well produce a market crash and another downgrade to the US credit rating.  It would also be a huge blow to US prestige in the world.   Read more...



The Astrology of Travel: Historic Journeys, Auspicious Stars

As Lao-tzu once said, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The importance of beginnings resonates with astrologers who also reserve a special place for the moment of birth and the planetary imprint of inception. Like the first breath, the first step in a journey occurs in a unique moment in time and is inscribed with an unrepeatable karmic signature.

The moment of inception offers us a map of the stars that can be used to grasp the nature and ultimate trajectory of an action. Unlike birth, the starting point for various human endeavors like travel can be freely chosen. This opens the door to the possibility of choosing or ‘electing’ an auspicious time for initiating an action based on alignments in the sky. The resulting electional charts or muhurthas should therefore be seen as practical tools through which astrology can further the understanding of our destiny and thereby enhance the quality of our lives.

But is it really possible to choose a fortuitous moment to embark on a trip and thereby manipulate the fates in our favour? Jyotish has long asserted that this is indeed the case. Many books have been written on the subject of elections, each detailing any number of rules for undertaking a particular action under the most auspicious star alignments.   Read more...



Obamacare under threat as government shutdown looms

(29 September 2013)  It was another bad week for President Obama as House Republicans voted for a one-year delay of Obamacare as part of its spending bill.  The delay of the unpopular health care plan has put the GOP on a collision course with the White House.  Obama will veto the bill to delay its launch and this will then result in a government shutdown as funds will not be available to provide basic government services. US government shutdowns are not that uncommon, however, and usually last only a few days.  Financial markets are actually more concerned with the threat posed by the debt ceiling debate as money is due to run out by October 17th.  If the debt ceiling cannot be raised, then the US government would default on its debt.  This is far more disruptive to financial markets than a shutdown.

To some extent, the current bad mood in Washington is the result of the ongoing Saturn-Rahu conjunction.  This has been in effect for much of September and is carrying over into October as it is activated by the transits of faster moving planets such as Mercury and the Sun.   As I have discussed in previous posts, this conjunction is afflicting Obama's natal Mars (frustration, confrontation) and is likely undermining his Sun (confidence, leadership) since the Saturn-Rahu conjunction sits atop his Neptune.  Read more...



Bernanke (and Rahu) surprise markets: Is the QE party over?

(22 September 2013)  Ben Bernanke surprised markets last week as the Fed postponed its plans to taper QE bond purchases until economic conditions improved.   While US stocks moved to new all-time highs on Wednesday's announcement, many investors and analysts voiced their irritation and disapproval at this sudden about-face after the Fed had been hinting at tapering since May.  The Fed's credibility took a beating with this move as more market players spoke out against its actions and its communications.  The fact that most of the gains were lost by Friday is further evidence that the market may be growing wearing of all this Fed money printing as it does not appear to have much effect in the real economy.

We can see the potential damage of Wednesday's non-taper by referring to Bernanke's swearing-in chart when he first took over the reins of Fed Chair on February 1 2006 at 9 a.m.   I interpret this chart as representing conditions and events of Bernanke's tenure at the Fed.  Close aspects involving malefic planets like Saturn will likely coincide with times of economic stress when the Fed is forced to react to worsening conditions, both in the economy and in the financial markets.  Read more...


Putin emerges as winner in face-off with Obama and US

(15 September 2013)  Russia's President Vladimir Putin seems to be the big winner in the recent war of words over Syria's chemical weapons.  The agreement between the US and Russia to remove all of Syria's chemical weapons by next year emerged after a series of missteps by the US administration.  President Obama's lack of political support for a military strike ultimately paved the way for the agreement which allowed the beleaguered Obama to save face.  Seeing the unworkable position Obama was in, Putin seized the moment by brokering the deal with Syria's strongman Bashar al-Assad.

The disarmament deal came as a surprise as I thought the odds were quite high for a military strike.  Obama's horoscope looked heavily afflicted for September.  Saturn in Libra is undermining his Cancer Sun (leadership, confidence) and thus he was more likely to fare poorly in this affair. I had thought the current transits to Obama's 8th house Mars in the last degree of Leo would be more likely to bring about military action.  However, it turned out that Obama's Mars was not very inclined to violence.  All those minor aspects to his Mars may have simply have reflected the awkwardness of his situation and the humiliation he has suffered.  The 8th house is symbolically associated with setbacks and embarrassments.  Read more...



The Hindenburg Omen: Is the stock market going to crash?

(8 September 2013) Recently there has been a lot of talk by technical analysts about the Hindenburg Omen. Named after the doomed airship that crashed in 1937 in New Jersey, the Hindenburg Omen is a series of criteria of stock market measurements that predicts market crashes. The premise of the criteria is that stocks tend to display greater extremes in behavior before a large decline. This is reflected, for example, in a higher number of stocks hitting their 52-week highs and 52-week lows simultaneously. The track record of the omen is impressive as it has correctly predicted every major crash or decline over the past 25 years. However, it has also misfired a number of times by issuing many false positives -- occasions when the technical criteria was fulfilled but the market did not crash.

The US stock market recently satisfied the criteria of the omen in mid-August when several signals formed in quick succession. It is believed that the signal is valid for 30 trading days. Assuming that no new omens are triggered, this signal will be valid until mid- to late-September. While the market is showing signs of weakness recently, one wonders if this will turn out to be just another false positive for the Hindenburg Omen. So we can ask the question: just how close are we to a stock market crash?   Read more...


Idealism under duress: Obama delays Syrian strike

(1 September 2013)  President Obama pulled back from the brink yesterday as he decided to delay a possible missile strike on Syria in order to seek approval from the US Congress. The surprise about-face ended a week of increasing war rhetoric as the White House sought to make its case for hitting the Assad regime after its recent use of chemical weapons during the two-year old civil war with insurgents. Obama had been boxed in by his own "red line" ultimatum against the use of poison gas and was feeling isolated after UK support for a missile strike was defeated in the British Parliament.

Obama's horoscope is under considerable pressure at this time. Transiting Saturn and Rahu (i.e. North Lunar Node) are both conjunct his 10th house Neptune indicating possible obstacles to his role as leader. Any planet in the 10th house is associated with status and reputation and we should not be surprised that the double whammy of these two malefic planets Saturn and Rahu should correspond with situations where his leadership is called into question or where events do not play out smoothly.

The added dimension here is that Neptune is a planet that symbolizes idealism so the encroaching influence of Saturn (limit, loss) and Rahu (distortion, disruption) reflects the difficulty Obama has had in reconciling his preference for negotiation and peace with a need to be firm in the face of a violation of the international norms of warfare.   Read more...


India's financial crisis: Mars and Saturn wreak havoc

(25 August 2013) Raghuram Rajan must be wondering what he has gotten himself into. The incoming head of the Reserve Bank of India assumes office on 4 September just as the country grapples with a deepening financial crisis. Inflation is on the rise and threatening again to break into double digit territory while the Rupee last week hit an all-time low of 65 to the Dollar. The current account deficit shows no sign of improvement and economic growth has contracted from 8-9% in previous years to a more modest 4-5%.

The crisis was sparked by a sudden outflow of foreign money after the US Federal Reserve indicated it would begin to taper its quantitative easing policy. The end to the Fed's bond buying program has caused bond yields to spike higher as investors realized Uncle Sam (or rather Ben!) would no longer be a reliable buyer of its own debt. As investors follow yield wherever they can find it, rising interest rates in the US made India markets much less attractive. Hence, we have witnessed a rush to the exits from many emerging markets like India over the past two months.

From an astrological perspective, India's current troubles do not come as a surprise. As I noted in July, India was likely to experience difficult economic conditions during this time and indeed for much of 2014 also.   Read more...


Prince George of Cambridge born; third in line to the British throne

(25 July 2013)  Britain gained a new heir to the throne on Monday with the birth of Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge at 4.24 pm in London.  The son of the Prince William and Kate Middleton will be third in line to be crown, after his father and his grandfather, Prince Charles, son of the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth.  

As one might expect for royalty, it is a fortunate and powerful horoscope.  Prince George was born on the day of a Full Moon, a clearly auspicious indication.  As Vedic astrology teaches us, the Moon is the lynch pin to the whole chart and hence is one of the key foundations for describing the contours and trajectory of a person's life.  A Moon what is strong and associated with benefic planets usually means the individual enjoys good fortune and happiness.  Conversely, a Moon that is badly placed can translate into many ups and downs in life, increased stress, and sideways career development. 

Prince George's Moon is very prominent indeed.  The Full Moon usually confers physical attractiveness and likability so we can expect an individual to get noticed more readily than would otherwise be the case.  This is already true with Prince George as he has been born into one of the most famous and well-recognized families on Earth.                Read more...  


Stocks shaky as Mars enters sidereal Cancer

(18 August 2013) Financial markets were shaky last week as improving US economic data continued to point to a recovery and hence a quicker exit from the Fed's quantitative easing program.   Stocks in New York fell 2% closing at 15,081.   Indian markets finished 1% to the down side after investors were less than impressed by the RBI's move towards capital controls.   In keeping with last week's post, it seems as if the entry of Venus into sidereal Virgo has already weakened sentiment.  Venus is said to be debilitated in the sign of Virgo and that tends to create diminished interest in buying and owning stocks.  As expected, we did get some upside in the first half of the week as the Mercury-Jupiter aspect generated some optimism.

While I can't quite see a repeat of the 1987 crash as some are predicting, it does seem as if the stage has been set for some kind significant down move in the stock market.  The QE merry-go-round may finally be coming to an end as Ben Bernanke may have no choice but to reduce the Fed's bond-buying program as the economy improves.  Read more...


Stocks weaken as Venus (Shukra) enters Virgo

(11 August 2013)  Stocks receded last week as growing taper talk from Fed officials suggested that a reduction of QE bond buying could begin as soon as September.   In New York, the Dow lost a little more than 1% closing at 15,425.  Indian stocks fared worse, however, as major economic problems continued to mount.  The Sensex declined by 2% closing at 18,789.

US Stocks remain fairly buoyant there as the effects of various Jupiter aspects in August are likely to keep most global markets afloat a little while longer.  And yet the picture is complicated by the fact that negative sentiment is likely on the rise.   As I have mentioned previously, Saturn will soon conjoin its malefic brethren Rahu (North Lunar Node) in mid-September.   Thus the overall sentiment picture is a complex one marked by ever-shifting planetary energies, each with their own distinct influence.  If Jupiter's aspects to Pluto, Rahu and finally Uranus are serving to prop up the markets in August, the combination of Saturn and Rahu is simultaneously undermining sentiment and will likely coincide with some kind of market decline in the medium term.     Read more...


Jupiter lifts stocks as Fed stays mum on QE

(4 August 2013) Jupiter is once again proving to be a Fed Chair's best friend.  Jovial Jupiter continues to do most of the heavy lifting in the stock market these days as many global markets set new all-time highs.   US Stocks edged higher again last week as the latest pronouncement from the Federal Reserve offered no new clues about the fate of the quantitative easing stimulus program.   Despite Friday's mediocre jobs report, the Dow climbed about 1% closing at 15,658.  Indian stocks fared worse, however, as current accounts woes hit the rupee hard and hastened an outflow of foreign investment.   The Sensex lost 3% closing at 19,164.  As expected, we did see bigger price swings later in the week with the multi-planet alignment of Venus, Mars, Rahu (NN), and Uranus.  (The image is a wall painting from Pompeii, Italy and depicts the Roman god Jupiter) 

More broadly, we can see how this latest phase of the stock market rally has been correlated with the condition of Jupiter.   Jupiter, of course, is a bullish planet and when it forms close aspects with other distant, slow moving planets, markets tend to do well.   Read more...


The broken BRICS and India's uncertain future

(28 July 2013)  Are the BRICs really broken?  There has been a lot of talk recently about declining growth in emerging markets especially in four largest countries collectively known as the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China).  A recent article by Ruchir Sharma of Morgan Stanley has suggested that the BRICs time in the spotlight may now be over after shining so brightly in the 2000s. China's double digit annual growth is now a thing of the past, and Brazil is seeing widespread social unrest against a backdrop of rising inflation and economic stagnation.  Russia is riddled with corruption and remains an undiversified oil-based economy.  Like its fellow BRIC brethren, India has seen its growth rates moderate from 9 percent down to 6 percent this year as struggles with inflation and inadequate infrastructure are formidable obstacles to sustainable economic growth. 

What does the future hold for India?  Are its recent setbacks merely very normal growing pains as an economy undergoes a process of maturation?  Or is the current phase of sluggish growth a warning signal of more significant problems to come as development is blocked by poor infrastructure and a political system that is ill-equipped to deal with long-term challenges?  Read more...


Is the game rigged? Bernanke comments push stocks to new record

(21 July 2013)  Is the game rigged? After yet another reassurance from Ben Bernanke last week that the Fed will do whatever is necessary to stimulate the economy and boost job growth, one may wonder if the stock market will ever go down again. After all, stocks have risen by more than 150% since their low in 2009 in no small part as a result of the Fed's loose money policies. Whenever markets have shown signs of falling back into the depths, Bernanke has stepped in with the latest version of quantitative easing (QE) which aims to reduce interest rates and thereby push more money into riskier assets such as stocks. Even if QE hasn't done that much to improve the US job market, it has been a bonanza on Wall Street. Bernanke's pledge last week helped to boost stocks last week as the Dow finished at another all-time record of 15,543. Indian stocks also did well as the Sensex edged higher to 20,149.

The gains were not surprising given the presence of the Jupiter-Saturn-Neptune alignment. While I thought we might have seen a little more caution creeping into the markets late in the week, the overall result mostly confirmed our understanding of the bullish effects of Jupiter when it forms geometric exact angles with other planets.        Read more...


Bernanke backtracks on taper; stocks rise to new highs

(14 July 2013)  Ben Bernanke has once again proved that the Fed is the stock market's best friend. The Fed Chair's magic words that the zero interest rate policy would remain in place indefinitely put investors in a buying mood as the worrisome taper talk faded into the background. No doubt Bernanke was still in damage control mode after his June musings about reducing bond buying created a headlong rush to the exits. While financial markets are certainly relieved that the Fed's free money will continue to flow, one wonders how long it can last. The Fed's experimental stimulus plan (QE) is now into its 4th year and has boosted stocks and other financial assets around the world in the wake of the financial meltdown of 2008.

The trouble now is that the Fed may be trapped. Markets have become addicted to the $85 Billion of treasuries it buys every month so that any hint that this money will not be forthcoming causes investors to freak out.   Read more...


Egyptian coup pushes up oil price

(7 July 2013)  The Arab Spring took a bit of a detour last week as Egypt's first democratically elected president was deposed in a military coup.  Mohamed Morsi and his pro-Islamist government lasted barely a year before the Egyptian army took matters into their own hands.  While military coups are usually seen as inimical to legitimate rule, this coup was quite popular and was welcomed by cheering crowds all over the country.  The instability in the Middle East caused a price spike in oil as crude moved above $100 for the first time since early 2012.  Although Egypt doesn't produce much oil, it does control the Suez canal which is the shortest route for Persian gulf oil bound for Europe.

Egypt's 1952 horoscope shows the outline of the current situation as both Mars (violence, military involvement) and the Sun (government, leaders) are under significant affliction by slow moving planets.  Transiting Rahu (21 Libra) is bearing down on its conjunction with Mars (18 Libra).  Rahu-Mars combinations are classic indicators for violence, especially in the mundane sphere.   Read more...
   
Stocks rebound as China averts bank crisis and Fed talk

(30 June 2013)  Stocks rebounded last week as Bernanke's foot soldiers at the Fed did their best to talk the markets back off the ledge.   US markets rose 1% on the week as the Dow closed at 14,909.  Indian markets followed suit as the Sensex posted a 3% gain finishing at 19,395.  I thought we might have seen the more cautious mood extend into midweek but stocks generally posted their low on Monday and rallied after that.  The late week Venus-Jupiter aspect may been a key driver of sentiment here as highs in the US occurred at Thursday's close and on Friday in Mumbai.

Perhaps less surprising was gold's sharp decline as it traded below $1200 on Wednesday before staging a modest recovery to $1230.  This extended decline in gold was expected ahead of the Saturn direct station on 8 July.  As I have noted previously, the current position of Saturn lines up almost exactly with the Ascendant in the 1919 gold horoscope.  This is one key reason why gold has been so widely sold in recent months.  Read more...


Stocks suffer taper tantrum after Bernanke; gold plunge deepens

(23 June 2013)  Financial markets suffered a "taper tantrum" last week as the latest comments by Fed Chair Ben Bernanke sparked a rush to exits. In his Wednesday testimony, Bernanke stated that the Fed would taper its QE3 bond-buying program this year as long as the economy continues to improve. While some reduction in bond buying was widely anticipated, the schedule Bernanke laid out was a little earlier than expected and prompted the broad-based sell-off in most asset classes including stocks, bonds, and commodities such as gold and oil. Markets are again beginning to factor in economic fundamentals as the era of easy money and central bank intervention is apparently winding down. US stocks declined more than 2% on the week with the Dow closing at 14,799. The damage to emerging markets continued to hit Indian stocks hard as the Sensex tumbled 2% closing at 18,774.

This negative reaction to Bernanke's comments were largely in keeping with our expectations as I thought that the aftermath of Wednesday's Sun-Jupiter conjunction would probably coincide with some selling.  Read more...


Emerging markets suffer on tapering worries; Bernanke speaks Wednesday

(16 June 2013)  Stocks mostly lost ground last week as stimulus tapering worries continued to spook investors.  In New York, the Dow declined by more than 1% closing at 15,070.   Indian stocks also fell as the contraction of liquidity continued to hit emerging markets hard.  The Sensex slipped by almost 2% on the week finishing at 19,177.  I thought we might have seen more strength in the early part of the week on the Mercury-Venus influence but its effects were quite limited.  The absence of much upside here on these putatively positive aspects is perhaps evidence of the approaching Saturn-Neptune aspect at the culmination of the Saturn retrograde cycle on July 8th.

Emerging markets appear to be in the cross hairs at the moment as they act as a sort of early warning system for a global financial system that is dependent on central bank monetary expansion (i.e. money printing).  Disappointment over the size and scope of the Japanese government's stimulus plan caused the Tokyo market to extend its recent sell-off.  Read more...


Obama on defensive after US surveillance revelations

(9 June 2013)  President Obama seems to have lost his midas touch recently.  This week's revelations of widespread US government spying on its own citizens was only the latest of a series of scandals and embarrassments that has put Obama on the defensive.  Things have got so bad that even the usually sympathetic liberal media outlets such as The New York Times are criticizing him for his unprincipled acquiescence to this expansion of the security state and the further erosion of civil liberties.  Obama's approval ratings are now under pressure and there is more talk that his agenda has been irretrievably comprised.  Thursday's bombshell report by The Guardian of NSA surveillance through compliant phone and internet companies gives fuel to the suspicions sowed by his right wing foes that Obama is an advocate for Orwellian Big Government.

As is often the case, Obama's current troubles are the result of the placement of several different planets at once.  First, we can see that transiting Rahu (North Lunar Node) is stationary at the top of the chart in the 10th house, just two degrees from his equal house cusp (24 Libra).   Read more...


Markets ponder early end to QE3 as stocks fall

(2 June 2013)  Stocks trended lower last week as markets pondered the possibility of an early end to the Fed's quantitative easing program.  US stocks fell by about 1% with the Dow finishing the week at 15,115.   Despite a sharp sell-off Friday, Indian markets ended the week mostly unchanged with the Sensex closing at 19,760.  This outcome was not unexpected as I thought we might see some weakness enter the market after the various Jupiter influences had culminated on Thursday.  As expected, Monday's Mercury-Jupiter aspect coincided with a strong rally.  Stocks also generally rose further through Tuesday's Venus-Jupiter aspect and the entry of Jupiter into Gemini of Thursday.  Once all that bullish Jupiter energy had manifest on Thursday, that opened the door for Friday's global decline.  It is worth noting that Friday also featured a close Mars-Mercury aspect, a commonly bearish influence. 

While US markets have pulled back somewhat in the past week, we may well ask if is this yet another bull market buying opportunity or is the market finally on the verge of a larger correction?  Read more...


Eclipses and financial markets: are stocks near a top?

(5 May 2013)  Last week I discussed the effect of eclipses in financial astrology.  With the approach of Thursday's solar eclipse, I thought I would offer some additional thoughts on how eclipses might work in  relation to the financial markets. 

I suggested that the simplest effect of eclipses was as a direct timing signal.  Since eclipses symbolize the interruption of the status quo and uncertainty, they have a tendency to correlate with noteworthy reversals of market trends.  The past 5 out of 6 eclipse periods have coincided with market lows as stocks have generally declined into either the lunar or solar eclipse and then reversed course and then rallied afterwards.  Given how strong the markets have been recently, it seems unlikely that Thursday's eclipse could correspond with a low.  But could it represent a high?  It might, but let's first look at alternate ways of thinking about eclipse effects.  Read more...


Terrorist bombing at Boston Marathon highlights difficult week for USA

(20 April 2013)  It has been a difficult week for the USA.   On Monday, the Boston Marathon was struck by a terrorist bombing that killed three people and injured more than 100.  It was the first terrorist incident on US soil since the 9/11 attacks.  Then on Tuesday, a number of anonymous letters containing the poison ricin was sent to various Washington officials including President Obama.  On Wednesday there was a massive explosion of a fertilizer plant in West, Texas that killed up to ten people and injured hundreds.  The explosion was so large that it could be heard 70 km away.  Then on Friday, Boston police chased the bombing suspects in a night of more violence and chaos.  In an unprecedented move for a major US city, the entire Boston area was locked down as police looked for the last remaining suspect and citizens were told to remain in their homes.  The massive manhunt captured the attention of the nation as much of it was broadcast live on television.  While the total number of fatalities from these incidents is quite small, their sudden and violent nature and high public profile has had a significant impact on public consciousness. 
 
A quick look at the key horoscopes shows a clear and simple astrological explanation for these shocking and violent incidents.   The very short answer is that there was a conjunction of the Sun and Mars in the sign of Aries this week opposite the planet Saturn.   Read more...



Margaret Thatcher 1925-2013; Saturn rules the Iron Lady

(12 April 2013)  Margaret Thatcher, the former British Prime Minster, died last weekend at the age of 87.  She was the longest serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century and was the first female to achieve that post.  While the "Iron Lady" may have been a highly divisive politician known for her uncompromising views and never backing down from a fight, Thatcher nonetheless pioneered radical reforms to deregulate the moribund British economy that helped to reverse years of economic stagnation and labour unrest. 

Not surprisingly, Thatcher's horoscope is very strong and reflects may of her well-known attributes.  Right off the bat, we can see that she was born with Saturn rising in Libra thus creating a powerful Sasa yoga.  Saturn is said to be exalted in Libra and here Saturn is just one degree away from 20 degrees, which is believed to be its most exalted degree where its most positive qualities are likely to manifest.  Saturn in the 1st house confers practicality and prudence and natives are often thinking ahead for ways to further advance their goals.  This placement tends to produce strong-willed people who are naturally given to commanding others.  This placement of Saturn in Libra also confers a significant amount of career success and public recognition.  Read more...



Gold plunges $80 on Cyprus rumour; Mars enters Aries

(14 April 2013)  Gold prices plunged last week as rumours that Cyprus would be forced to sell its reserves coincided with institutional downgrades from the likes of Goldman Sachs.  Gold lost 6% on the week and closed at $1480, below the crucial technical support level of $1520.   Gold has now officially entered a bear market since it has dropped more than 20% since it all-time high of $1923 in September 2011. 

The latest decline in gold comes as no surprise to us, however, as I have been generally negative in my outlook for some time.  I have posted previously in this space (December 2012 and February 2013) that further declines were more likely in 2013 due to planetary afflictions to the key horoscopes that symbolize the gold price.  In my subscriber newsletter, I had also suggested that more declines were likely in April as Saturn was increasing in strength through its aspects with Pluto, Uranus and Neptune.  Friday's death plunge for gold below support coincided exactly with the entry of Mars into sidereal Aries, a clearly bearish influence.  Read more...



The Russian meteor: what does it all mean?

(17 February 2013)  Friday's astonishing meteor strike over central Russia has left many people wondering just what it all might mean.   Is this meteor related to the asteroid that is due to narrowly miss Earth in a few days?   Is this meteor a warning of something more serious down the road?  And perhaps more related to astrology, what meaning should we humans take from this would-be heavenly omen?   In my view, the answers to these questions are: nothing, not necessarily and probably nothing.  There is not too much insight that astrology can offer about this particular meteor.   As meteors go, it was quite small, about the size of bus.  It broke apart over the city of Chelyabinsk on Friday 15 February at 9.20 a.m. travelling at 44 times the speed of sound.  It weighed about 9000 tonnes with an energy release that was over 20 times greater than the combined force of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki atomic bombs.  Fortunately, no one was killed.

I am generally not one for omens, as I prefer to examine the correlations of previous planetary patterns that have already established a track record of empirical observation.  Single impact meteors such as this are basically one-offs that do not easily fit into a ready-made array of meaning and signification.   Read more...


Gold dives $50 on economic data; stocks hold steady

(17 February 2013)  Stocks generally held steady last week as most economic data continued to suggest that the recovery is slowly proceeding apace.  US stocks were mostly unchanged as the Dow lost only a handful of points on the week closing at 13,981.  Indian stocks were similarly flat as the Sensex was only marginally lower finishing at 19,468. I thought we might have seen more downside than we got as the array of short term aspects with Saturn suggested the possibility of declines.  At the same time, I did not lose sight of the continuing aspect between bullish Jupiter and Uranus which has lifted collective sentiment for the past month or more.   In other words, we had a result that did not violate our basic assumptions and remained within general expectations.

Gold had a more interesting week as it fell by 3% closing near $1610.  It seems that all this fresh evidence of a recovery means that there is less reason for the Fed and other central banks to print money with various quantitative easing measures.   Read more...



Apple plunges 10% after earnings; market rise with Jupiter

(27 January 2013)  Investors continued to see the glass as half-full last week as stocks climbed for their fourth straight week.   US stocks pushed to their highest level since 2007 as the Dow rose 1% to 13,896.   Indian stocks were only marginally higher, however, as the Sensex added 70 points closingat 20,103.  The week unfolded more or less as expected as the two Jupiter aspects did coincide with some upside at the beginning and end of the week.  The midweek Mars-Rahu aspect coincided with some weakness, although this manifested more clearly in Mumbai than in New York. 

One highlight last week was the release of the fourth quarter earnings from Apple.  While the tech giant reported record earnings, the sales were not quite was the market was hoping for and forward guidance was more cautious.  Apple stock plunged 10% on Thursday as a result.  Apple has lost more 30% of its value since its high of $702 on September 21 the day of the release of the long-awaited iPhone 5.   It has been in a sharp down trend ever since and now stands at $440.   Read more...

Markets cheer as Obama wins fiscal cliff deal

(6 January 2013)  US Stocks moved sharply higher last week as investors breathed a sigh of relief in the wake of the 11th-hour fiscal cliff deal.  The Dow jumped 4% on the week and closed at 13,435.  Optimism was somewhat more muted in Mumbai as the Sensex added 2% to start the year finishing the week at 19,784.   Alas, the negative implications of the Sun-Saturn aspect did not play out as expected as lawmakers in Washington did manage to come to an agreement.  While the deal was very much a minimal sort of agreement that did nothing to address the US fiscal sustainability, it was enough to satisfy markets as the worst effects of the fiscal cliff were averted for the time being.   As expected, the late week Mars-Jupiter aspect did appear to magnify the price moves as I thought it might, although these were very much in a positive direction.

It seems clear that the bullish influence of Jupiter is dominant now as it approaches its aspect with Uranus and its direct station on 30 January.   Bearish Saturn is still in close aspect with Pluto but this is a slower moving and less prominent influence.   Read more...