Gold dives $50 on improved 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. This in turn reduces the possibility of inflation and the subsequent damage to the buying power of national currencies. In a more stable economic climate, gold is less attractive as an inflation hedge. The recent decline in gold is very much in keeping with our expectations as I thought we would see more weakness in February around the Saturn retrograde station. This has proved to be the case as Saturn turns retrograde tomorrow, on Monday the 18th. Gold broke a key technical support level at $1620-1640 last week and now there is a growing sense that it may remain bearish for a while here.

The 1919 natal chart for gold also reflects the current bearishness around the yellow metal. The 1919 horoscope represents the first public price for gold as arranged by a small group of London banks. It is certainly not the only relevant horoscope for gold but it is one that has often yielded some useful information. As we can see transiting Saturn -- a very bearish planet -- sits in the 1st house of this chart and casts its powerful square aspect to the triple conjunction of Mars, Neptune and Jupiter. This is a serious affliction, especially now that Saturn is stationary and therefore more powerful. On the other hand, we could also argue that both Jupiter and Uranus form harmonically significant aspects to the ascendant at 12 degrees of sidereal Libra. This ought to have produced some bullishness given the optimistic nature of Jupiter. As is often the case, Saturn tends to outweigh Jupiter, all other things being equal. In this case, however, they are actually worse as Ketu perhaps casts the more decisive vote towards bearishness. Ketu, the South Lunar Node, forms an exact trine aspect to the Sun-Venus conjunction in the natal chart. This is often a difficult influence and often coincides with sudden changes and instability. Given the centrality of Saturn in this chart at this time, we can see that Ketu would tend to show its more anti-materialistic side. Ketu is a good planet if you're seeking esoteric knowledge and spiritual enlightenment, but not so good if you're a gold bug in search of better investment returns.

This week all eyes are on Saturn is the gloomy ringed-planet turns retrograde on Monday. This is generally a negative influence on sentiment albeit one that can manifest in the background for some time.  The fact that it is aspecting Pluto is also a negative influence.  The short term aspects this week actually look somewhat promising. Monday's Moon-Jupiter conjunction is bullish, Tuesday's Moon-Venus aspect is also bullish and Wednesday's Sun-Neptune conjunction is also arguably bullish. Even Thursday's entry of Venus into Aquarius is bullish. I'm not sure how these bullish short term aspects will be reconciled with the medium term pessimism that will likely be conjured by Saturn turning retrograde. Perhaps there will be stalemate. It's very hard to say either way. I would tend to think that at least some of those bullish aspects should translate into gains at some point. Just how much upside they produce remains to be seen, however.

Transits for Thursday 21 February 2013