Summer's gone: what's next for stocks?

(3 September 2018) As the summer winds down, the US stock market appears as unstoppable as ever.  With the exception of the Dow, most of the main indexes hit fresh all-time highs last week.  Investors have generally shrugged off trade worries and instead focused on growing corporate earnings and the Fed's promise to raise interest rates gradually.  With the notable exception of India, markets outside the US have generally fared less well as more trade dependent economies such as China and Europe have suffered significant losses this year.

So what happens next?  From a technical point of view, there is good reason to think that stocks will likely undergo some kind of pullback or correction in the coming weeks.  Pullbacks are normal occurrences in a bull market, even one that is entering its 10th year as this one is.  The astrological perspective also strongly suggests that a pullback will occur in September and could begin as early as this week.

The current planetary situation is complex.  We can see powerful multi-planet alignments centered around both Jupiter and Saturn.  Bullish Jupiter has been in a very slow-moving and long-lasting alignment with Neptune throughout summer.  Jupiter's direct station in early July formed a close angle with Neptune which remained within range for two months.  This is one of the reasons for the extended summer rally.  Now Jupiter is moving away from its 120-degree angle with Neptune so there will likely to be a reduction of optimism in the weeks ahead. Jupiter is also due to align with Pluto next week (exact September 12) so that could coincide with some upside.

However, bearish Saturn is becoming more prominent in September as it stations direct on September 6 and aligns with Uranus for much of the month.  The added twist here is that the ongoing Saturn-Uranus alignment will align with Mars and Ketu, the South Lunar Node, later in September.  This four-planet alignment looks quite tense and seems incompatible with a stock market rally.  More likely, it will mark some kind of pullback.  While the alignment is exact in the second half of September, it could begin to be felt somewhat before and after the dates of maximum alignment.

Using the horoscope of the NASDAQ, we can see how this very nasty Saturn-centered alignment could make a big impact on stocks, especially tech stocks.  Saturn is stationing at 8 Sagittarius which is exactly trine the Ascendant at 8 Aries.  Saturn also conjoins Venus (9 Sagittarius) for the month of September.  Uranus (8 Aries) will also conjoin the Ascendant and hints at the possibility of sudden, large moves in the markets. 

Saturn-Uranus don't have be bearish and indeed they have been within range for several weeks already during which time the market went up.  But Jupiter was stronger than it is now.  The other area of concern is that Saturn-Uranus will be joined by Mars and Rahu.  I would think some kind of decline is likely, possibly larger than many bullish investors expect. 

This Week

Aside from the slowly evolving Saturn situation, Mars is due to aspect Mercury via its most malefic 210 degree/8th house aspect.  This is a fairly reliable indicator of some major downside (>1%) on at least one day this week.  It is close from Tuesday to Thursday so some selling looks likely at some point across those three days.  Tuesday looks somewhat worse than Wednesday, while Thursday may be the worst of the lot given the Moon-Mars opposition that also occurs that day.  On Friday, Mercury aligns with Saturn and Uranus in a Grand Trine pattern and could produce a significant move. 

The last time we saw a fast-moving planet form a Grand Trine was on August 24 when the Sun aligned with Saturn and Uranus.  While not quite exact in its alignment, the markets rose sharply that day.  We could well see a repeat this Friday.  At the same time, the Sun-Neptune opposition on Friday looks less positive and suggests confusion and lack of confidence.  So there is a lot going on there that could argue for either a gain or decline.  Or even both in quick sequence.

For more details on the short and medium outlook for the markets, check out my weekly investor newsletter.  I cover US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil, and major currencies.