Markets applaud Yellen's inaugural testimony as Fed Chair

(16 February 2014)  Incoming Fed Chair Janet Yellen made her first appearance before Congress this week as legislators quizzed her on the Federal Reserve's monterary policies.   Yellen's remarks were well received as US financial markets generally rose throughout the week.  Yellen emphasized the continuity of the Fed's policy of near-zero interest rates and the promise to extend the tapering of QE as long as the economic data warranted it.  US stocks climbed through the week on her testimony which seemed to calm worries over a possible slowdown.  Gold investors were especially enthused over her desire to increase inflation to 2.5% through further measures.  Gold gained 3% on the week closing near $1320.  Indian stocks slipped a bit, although they remained within their recent trading range.

In other words, Yellen is telling markets exactly what they want to hear.  If things turn sour again for the economy, the Fed will be there to open the taps and flood the market with lots more free money.  Whether this will actually improve employment and the economy as a whole is another question, but it will certainly boost stocks and make the Wall St bankers happy.  Good economic news means stocks can rise on future earnings expectations.  Bad economic news means the Fed will goose the market in order to improve money flow and thereby stimulate the economy.   Now more than ever, the Fed plays a pivotal role in financial markets.

The importance of the Federal Reserve pertains not only to investments, but to the world economy as a whole.  The Fed pulls the strings, and the economy dances.  Or not.  This makes Yellen vitally important for understanding where the world economy is likely to be headed during her term as Chair. 

The astrological dimension is not without some usefulness in this matter.  The moment Yellen assumed the Chair of the Fed is a significant moment in time that is inscribed with a unique cosmic imprint.  Yellen assumed the office of Chair of the Fed at 12.01 a.m. on Saturday February 1st.  The resulting horoscope can provide insight about the nature of her term.  One complicating factor is that Yellen took the oath two days later on Monday February 3 at 9.10 a.m in Washington, DC.  Both charts are potentially revealing, although given my drothers, I would defer to the midnight Feb 1 chart.  Let's take a look.

The February 1st chart has Rahu rising with Mars just a few degrees away.  This is anything but a picture of stability and tradition.  Rahu suggests bold moves and very independent thinking to the point where they can be destabilizing and unpredictable.  Right off the bat, we have some indication that Yellen's Fed will be different from the Fed of Bernanke and Greenspan.  The fairly close proximity of Mars to Rahu suggests that the bold moves will be accompanied by some annoyance or awkwardness, if not frustration and pain. 

Libra rises in the chart which is ruled by Venus.  Venus is tightly conjunct Pluto (power) and closely opposed by Jupiter (expansion).  There are at least two possible interpretations to this configuration.  The first is that the Fed will likely expand its loose monetary policy since Jupiter is all about expansion and inflation.  Perhaps the Fed will expand its balance sheet once again in order to boost employment, or perhaps just buy stocks directly. Alternatively, the Fed could simply expand its reach and its institutional power during Yellen's term.  This needn't be inflationary but may involve experimenting with new policy tools beyond interest rates and bond buying.  Either way, it does seem more likely that the Fed will continue to fill the policy breach created by the political stalemate in DC. 

The other important pattern in this chart is the Moon-Mercury-Neptune conjunction.  This usually represents an inspired vision with enhanced communication.  Neptune can sometimes indicate delusion and deception although that is not always the case.  However, in this chart, we can see that the Moon-Mercury-Neptune trio receives a near exact aspect from Rahu.  That is probably unhelpful for Yellen's ability to communicate clearly and effectively.  I would think that this pattern is more likely to reflect some confusion in her policies as well as problems with the media and investment community making sense of the Fed's intentions, especially in its forward guidance.

Most of these issues are actually repeated in the swearing-in horoscope.  The Mercury-Neptune conjunction is still there under the influence of Rahu and has now shifted to the 12th house.  This arguably a worse placement as it means that communication and policy logic is more likely to be hidden from view or least viewed in that way.  This may indicate a perception of a lack of transparency in Fed policy.  The Moon has moved on of course but is now in the 1st house with Uranus.  Moon-Uranus in the 1st house is a classic signature for sudden movements, and often unpredictable.  There may be a sense of ingenuity here, as if Yellen will be responding to changing situations with some inventive and clever ideas.  But the rest of the chart looks somewhat stressed, as if no matter how inventive Yellen may be, there will be some significant headwinds for the Fed during her tenure.  Mars-Rahu are very close to the 8th house cusp signifying painful obstacles and setbacks.  But Yellen herself may be able to deflect most of the criticism as the Venus-Jupiter-Pluto configuration is invoked once again.  Pisces rises in the chart which is ruled by Jupiter and this receives the aspect of Venus.  There is a sense of a "get out of jail free" card in this pattern which could be useful in maintaining Yellen's credibility. 

The 9.10 a.m. oath chart is somewhat better than the midnight term chart but both do speak to the likelihood of an eventful and challenging term for Janet Yellen.  It may also mean that another significant round of economic turbulence is more likely in the next few years.

This week features an interesting contrast between planetary influences.  On the bullish side, we can see that Jupiter and Uranus are still in a very close square alignment.  This has been building in February and is likely one of the reasons for the buoyant markets in the US and Europe.  But Mercury forms a square with Saturn in midweek which could dent the optimism, especially given the simultaneous Moon-Mars-Rahu conjunction.  The Sun also comes under the aspect of Rahu which can also be troublesome.