London FTSE Outlook

Like most global markets, the UK has fallen significantly throughout 2008 as twin fears of economic slowdown and inflation have created a pessimistic mood. Since its high in October 2007 at 6730, the FTSE 100 has dropped more than 20% and currently stands at 5370. This decline can be seen in the horoscope of the FTSE 100, which was launched on 3 January 1984. What is especially intriguing about this chart from a Hindu perspective is that the bulk of it occurred during the bhukti of Venus, a natural benefic. This is another example of how the natural qualities of planets are an unreliable guide for stock market performance. The actual condition of the planet in the horoscope in question reveals if the planet's period will yield positive or negative results.

Actually, the story of the current bear market goes back to March 2000 with the beginning of the Moon dasha. This closely corresponded with the market top that occurred in December 1999. Like Venus, the Moon is considered a natural benefic in Jyotish which brings blessings and favourable outcomes. But there is considerable difficulty with the Moon in the FTSE 100 chart. First, it rules the 8th house, a negative dussthana house. Second, it is almost completely combust through the near perfect conjunction with the Sun. Third, Saturn aspects the Moon very closely. While Saturn rules good houses here and is exalted, there is always a residual malefic quality to its influence. In sum, the duration of the Moon period from 2000 to 2010 would never be able to yield great returns. This is in keeping with the classic double top formation we can see in the chart of the FTSE 100. Although there was a sustained rally from 2003 to 2007, it never exceeded the previous highs set in the late 1990s. And given the difficult condition of the natal Moon, it is extremely unlikely that prices will exceed this top (6300) for the balance of the Moon period which lasts until 2010.

The Venus subperiod began on 4 January 2008, just days after an interim top was reached around 6400. While Venus can normally be counted on for gains, Venus is compromised in this chart by virtue of: 1) its position in the 12th house; 2) its conjunction with Ketu and Uranus and 3) the difficult situation of its dispositor Mars, which is conjunct Pluto and Saturn. While Venus still retains some of its natural power to deliver favours, especially given its rulership of the 11th house of gains, these temporal afflictions limit the extent to which Venus periods can deliver the goods. It is noteworthy that the Venus subperiod will run until September 2009. That fact alone should give pause to longer term investors in the UK market since it largely precludes the possibility of a boost in prices above 6400 over the next year. This is a statement of the obvious given the probability of continuing economic weakness in the UK, and yet it is still useful to see how economic and market conditions are reflected by the horoscopic situation.

Transits have also played a role in the current bear market. The FTSE topped out last October as transiting Ketu exactly aspected the natal Mercury in the first house while transiting Jupiter conjoined the natal Ketu. Ketu is a planetary energy that is usually antithetical to expansion of economic activity and market optimism so it is not surprising that this double dose of Ketu should have coincided with a reversal in investor sentiment. By the time of the sharp January 2008 decline, transiting Ketu had now moved within range of natal Jupiter, the chart ruler. Again, this is usually a very bearish influence. The most recent leg down from May to July corresponded with transiting Saturn making a station in close square to subperiod lord Venus. Like Ketu, Saturn's bias is towards pessimism and caution and is often implicated in sell offs and bear market movements.

The prospects for the next few months are mixed. On the plus side, Jupiter will station in early September and it's close proximity to both Sun and Moon ought to be a source of investor confidence and higher prices. But transiting Ketu is aspecting its natal position which is often troublesome and in October Saturn will aspect natal Rahu, another possible period of turbulence. Since the Jupiter influence is likely to be more strongly felt over the next 4-6 weeks, UK markets are unlikely to fall much further than their current levels. I would also expect an upward bias through September which may see a rally as high as 5700. This chart gets precarious into October and beyond as the Jupiter influence wanes and the chart comes increasingly under the rule of Saturn and the nodes. I would expect a new low under 5000 by year's end.