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 Alexis 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.  For its part, the EU has said it has withdrawn its latest bailout offer so it isn't clear if the referendum will even take place since there is technically no longer an offer to vote on.

Last week, I thought there might be enough positive planetary energy in play this week to bring the parties together, at least for a few days.  For several months, I have identified June as a likely turning point in the ongoing saga between Greece and the EU.  The 120 degree Jupiter-Uranus aspect was a key influence in this respect as it normally boosts confidence and raises optimism.  The problem is the aspect was exact last Monday on 22 June -- the day when things were looking rosier for a deal to be struck.  Stocks around the world generally rose on the expectation that a default could be averted at least for a few more months. 

But that is looking less likely now.  I wasn't sure if the Jupiter-Uranus aspect would represent the peak of optimism in this matter or just get us a little closer to the turning point which looked like it might happen as late as 30 June and the Venus-Jupiter conjunction.  As I wrote last week, late June looked very significant in any event because the alignments suggested things could soon change once this Jupiter-Uranus-Venus alignment began to separate on the 1st of July. 

So what is going to happen now?  I don't know exactly how it will all play out but I am expecting any last-minute measures to ultimately fail, probably by the middle of July.  To be honest, I'm not sure there will be any last-ditch olive branches this week or not.   Whether or not the referendum actually takes place is hard to say.  I would be surprised if we got a conclusive end to the crisis this week, as the Venus-Jupiter conjunction may allow for another brief injection of optimism early in the week.  It likely won't last very long, however, as Wednesday's Mars-Rahu square aspect looks unsettling.


Financial Markets Update

US stocks moved fractionally lower last week as hopes faded for a quick resolution to the Greek crisis.  The Dow was down modestly finishing at 17,947.  Indian stocks fared better, however, as monsoon worries subsided and early gains held.  The Sensex rose 2% to 27,811.  I had been fairly upbeat in last week's market forecast given the proximity of the Jupiter-Uranus aspect although I mistakenly thought the early week could see some declines from the Mercury and Mars influences.

This week promises to be full of surprises.  Tuesday's Venus-Jupiter conjunction would appear to offer the prospect of some upside in the early week.  But once that aspect is over and done with, the downside risk increases significantly.   Mars forms a very tense-looking aspect with Rahu (North Lunar Node) on Wednesday so that is likely correlate with some selling.  It could happen quite suddenly and occur at any time this week.  As Venus moves past Jupiter and Jupiter moves past its aspect with Uranus this week, the longer term outlook becomes more shaky.  Worse still, we can see that Saturn is backing into a close 45-degree alignment with Pluto that is exact in late July.  So you have a diminishing positive energy source as Jupiter fades and a growing negative energy source as Saturn strengthens.  No wonder Carl Icahn said stocks are way overvalued and the market is ripe for a big selloff.