US stocks sell-off; eclipses and grand cross upcoming

(13 April 2014)  Stocks were mostly lower last week as weak data out of China and Japan suggested the global economy may be slowing.  The technology sector led US stocks lower as the the Dow lost more than 2% closing near the 16,000 level.  The Indian market fared better on optimism on the growing likelihood of a Modi election win.  The Sensex touched a new all-time weekly closing high at 22,628.  This largely bearish outcome was somewhat surprising as I thought we might have seen more strength later in the week on the Mercury-Venus aspect.  Monday was negative across the board as the Sun-Mars aspect fulfilled its bearish promise and then we began to see Mercury and Venus take hold after that.  But the late week sell-off appeared to foreshadow the coming of a more difficult Mars influence (see below).

I had also thought that stocks would likely remain fairly firm here in the first half of April as the Jupiter-Uranus-Pluto aspect becomes exact on April 20th.  This is a fairly reliable bullish influence and is the main planetary reason for the rally in Q1 2014 and the current lofty levels of most stock markets worldwide.  Despite, the recent pullback, stocks ARE very high and many observers are talking about a possible bubble and the necessity of a correction.  Admittedly, we have seen some erosion in stocks a little ahead of schedule.  This is a good reminder that the sky is not laid out as digitally as we would like and that interpreting planetary influences has more in common with economic modeling than Newtonian physics.  The former has to do with conscious human behaviour while the other deals with more predictable inanimate matter.  

Things are getting interesting now that we move into the second half of April.  Not only is the positive Jupiter-Uranus energy likely to wane once its aspect moves past, but we are now entering the eclipse period from April 15th to 29th.  Eclipses tend to introduce more instability and uncertainty into human affairs and are therefore more commonly connected with trend reversals in the stock market.  That said, they are not high probability factors for a reversal and usually need to be part of a larger matrix of destabilizing planetary placements.  Tuesday's Lunar Eclipse looks fairly benign actually as it occurs at 1 Libra and lacks any tense aspects with other planets.  There are other aspects which do look problematic, however, (e.g. Mars opposite Mercury) so it is still worth watching.  The Solar Eclipse is due on April 29th and will occur at 14 degrees of Aries.  This may be more problematic due to the retrograde condition of Aries' dispositor Mars. 

Perhaps more important is the upcoming Grand Cross pattern on April 22-23.  This is an extremely rare pattern where four planets (Mars, Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto) are each separated by a square aspect of 90 degrees.  The square aspect is considered tense and is more associated with difficulty and declines.  This particular Grand Cross is noteworthy because it is so exact -- each square aspect is exact by less than 20 minutes of arc (each degree contains 60 arc minutes).  The picture is more complicated because bullish Jupiter is present in this alignment with bearish Mars.  Which energy will prevail?  Uranus and Pluto are usually neutral and take on whatever energy is predominant in the aspect.  But with the overall valence of the alignment uncertain, it is unclear just what, if anything, will happen around those dates of exactitude.  The history of astrology is full of seemingly perfect alignments that didn't produce much of anything in the way of clear results.  Therefore, we should be cautious about over-hyping the Grand Cross here, especially as regards to financial markets.  I would put it this way: the chances for a significant move is increased with this pattern but it is not what I would call probable.  I would not be surprised if nothing much happened out of the ordinary.  And yet with Mars still retrograde until May 19th, the current financial mood looks mediocre at best.  The lack of a strong Jupiter in the coming days means the market may become more vulnerable to declines.

This week offers a real mix of aspects.  Tuesday's eclipse is made more tense due to the close Mars-Mercury opposition aspect.  This is likely to produce some negativity during the midweek period.  It is possible that we could see some more optimism beforehand on Monday's Mercury-Uranus conjunction but this may be fleeting.  Thursday's Venus-Jupiter aspect is similarly bullish in its bias although it may be difficult to offset the effects of the eclipse and the Mars aspects.   It should be an interesting week!