Stocks wobble as bond yields rise; bitcoin crashes below 10K

(1 February 2018) US stocks are looking a bit shaky this week after a rare two-day decline on Monday and Tuesday.   Investors became skittish as bond yields rose to their highest since 2014.   As the economy continues to improve under Trump, inflation expectations are rising.  This, in turn, is making yields more competitive with stocks as the yield on the 2-year Treasury is now higher than the dividend yield on the S&P 500 for the first time since 2009.  If yields continue to rise, stocks will become more vulnerable to a correction.  Some analysts are suggesting that 3% on the 10-year Treasury could be the make-or-break level to watch.  Currently, it is 2.79%. 

This week's market jitters may be seen through several charts but perhaps most clearly through the NASDAQ horoscope (Feb 8 1971).   While there are several placements that are contributing to this uncertainty, it is likely the transit of Mars through Scorpio that is the triggering factor.  Earlier in the week Mars was exactly conjunct the 8th house cusp at 8 Scorpio.  This is the same as a 150-degree inconjunct alignment with the Ascendant in the NASDAQ chart.  Mars is often a bearish planet and it is more likely to coincide with down days while associated with the 8th house.   In traditional astrology, the 8th (along with the 6th and 12th) are seen as more negative.  The negative outcome to the Mars transit was likely increased due to the proximity of Jupiter and Neptune to the Mars transit. 



But Mars doesn't always produce down days when it aligns with the cusp of the 8th house (N.B.  it does so about once every two years).  Other factors may also had a hand in creating the conditions for this pullback.  Saturn (10 Sagittarius) is close to Venus (9 Sagittarius) and may have been resonating with Mars as it neared the the 10th degree of Scorpio.  Mars and Saturn tend to be more bearish planets in their effects.  In addition, the South Lunar Node (Ketu) is in a wide conjunction with the Sun (25 Capricorn) while the North Lunar Node (Rahu) is now approaching its trine aspect with natal Mars (17 Scorpio). 


Outlook

But where are stocks going from here?  Is this just a brief dip after which the rally will resume or is this the beginning of a shift in sentiment which could lead to a major correction?  I think the next week or two could see more difficulties since Mars will remain in Scorpio.  Even the next few days could be more volatile than normal as Mars conjoins Jupiter.  Today (Thursday) stocks have fallen again.   That said, next week looks less negative overall given the Venus-Uranus aspect on Tuesday the 6th and the Sun-Jupiter alignment on Friday the 9th.  I would also pay special attention to the time around the Mars-Rahu alignment in mid-February as this will provide a double activation of the natal Mars in the NASDAQ chart. 

The fact that Jupiter is due to station retrograde on March 8th would suggest that there may be a return to optimism as we get closer to that date.  This suggests that the rally may not be over just yet.  Whether there is enough optimism to push stocks to new all-time highs is harder to say, however.   The astrology does not offer clear evidence on that question.  While I do think markets are likely to suffer a larger correction (>10%) sometime in the next 3-4 months, I would not say it is likely to occur here in February.  We may only be getting a more modest trial run. 




A bit on Bitcoin

All the news is bad these days for cryptocurrencies.  New reports of hacking, more government regulations, and more questions about whether it is simply a massive bubble.  Bitcoin has now lost 50% of its value from its high near $20,000 as BTC traded below $10,000 this week.  The correction itself isn't too surprising although the size of the decline is.   Previously, I suggested the Uranus direct station in early January could change the dynamic for a while and force prices lower. 

I think there is some chance for a rebound in the coming weeks, but it looks unlikely to recover its previous levels.  One potential key date may the Jupiter retrograde station on March 8th.  Jupiter symbolizes optimism and expansion and its change in direction can sometimes coincide with shifts in market mood.  On this occasion, we should note that the Jupiter station occurs at 29 Libra which is exactly square the Ascendant (29 Cancer) of the First Trade chart (12 Jan 2009, Temple City, CA).  This First Trade chart is far from being reliable data so we shouldn't place too much importance on the position of the Jupiter station. Nonetheless, it bears watching.  After March, the chart looks increasingly stressed.  This hints at lower lows for BTC in the second quarter of 2018. 

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.