Predictions & Forecasts

Time is running out on Boris' Brexit

(14 October 2019) The tension is mounting as the UK is set to leave the European Union on Oct 31 with or without a deal.  Negotiations are intensifying in recent days as the EU is due to meet on Thursday and Friday to render a decision about any possible last-minute deals.  British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has refused to extend the deadline past Oct 31 and has asserted that he would leave without a deal if necessary.  Huge anti-Brexit protests are due this weekend as the country remains deeply divided on the whole Brexit question. 

In a previous post, I thought Boris Johnson would eventually be successful in his drive to take the UK out of the EU by Oct 31.  However, I didn't quite anticipate the level of difficulty he would have up to now as his various tactical strategies have failed.  His desire for a snap election was thwarted because of lack of support in the Commons and his proroguing of Parliament was also struck down by the Supreme Court.   Read more...



The astrology of recession: Saturn, Jupiter and Pluto in 2020

(7 October 2019) Stocks have trended lower over the past week as surprisingly weak US manufacturing data has renewed recession concerns.  While Friday's middling US jobs report offered some respite, US markets were down for the week.  European and Asian markets were also generally lower as bonds and gold rallied. 

This bearish outcome was not unexpected as I thought the midweek Mercury-Mars alignment would likely correlate with some downside.   The late week rebound in the US and Europe also fit nicely with the entry of bullish Venus into Libra on Thursday and Friday. 

As bond yields are again testing their recent lows, the market is still focused on a possible recession next year.  The 10-year US Treasury is again yielding near 1.5% and remains the only game in town for many international investors who are seeking both safety and a positive return on capital.  With most Japanese and European government bonds with negative rates, money is flooding into both US equity and debt markets.   Read more...


Stocks wobble as Dems launch impeachment inquiry

(30 September 2019) Stuff is getting real now in Washington, DC as Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally pulled the trigger on the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.  The revelations in the Ukraine-Biden affair convinced Pelosi and the more moderate wing of the party to go ahead with the controversial impeachment inquiry.  Hearings are due to begin this week with the subpoena Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani. The eventual timing of the House votes on the Articles of Impeachment will depend on the length of the investigations but seem most likely to take place in November or December.  

In last Monday's post, I outlined a few time windows that could be decisive in this impeachment process: 1) late September;  2) late October;  3) early December and perhaps most importantly;  4) January-February.  In terms of the current transit picture, I didn't properly understand that the Mars (28 Leo) square aspect to Trump's volatile Moon-Ketu combination at 28 Scorpio could actually bring about the formal beginning of the inquiry.   It was clearly bad news for the president but it also more or less exactly coincided with impeachment launch.   Read more...


Democrats one step closer to impeaching Trump

(23 September 2019)  It never ends.   President Trump has come under renewed scrutiny over the weekend for apparently withholding military aid to Ukraine in exchange for damaging information on the family of potential Democratic nominee Joe Biden.  If there is clear evidence that Trump sought the help of a foreign power to gain advantage over a political rival, moderate Democrats in the House of Representatives would be more willing to vote to impeach. 

While calls for impeachment have been growing over the past year, House Leader Nancy Pelosi has resisted it due to the vulnerability of some moderates in the 2020 election.  The Ukrainian-Biden affair is shifting the odds towards impeachment, however, as this is a more blatant "high crime and misdemeanor".  The House can impeach with a simple majority of 218 out of 435 seats and the Democrats currently control 235 seats.   Read more...


Stocks fall after Saudi oil attack; oil rises 12%

(16 September 2019)  Stock markets ended Monday modestly negative after a sudden drone attack on Saudi oil facilities.  US stocks fell about 0.5% while bonds, gold and, of course, oil rallied on the news of the supply interruption.  While it is unclear who was responsible for the attack, the US is already pointing fingers at Iran or its Yemeni allies.  Retaliation from the US or Saudi Arabia has not yet occurred, but the situation is dangerously uncertain.  Moreover, the attack reveals a major vulnerability in Saudi oil production going forward.

The timing of the attack comes at an awkward time as stocks are within 1% of their all-time high and investors await the latest statement on interest rates from the Fed on Wednesday.  In other words, it may become harder to stocks to move to new highs given this unwelcome geopolitical development.  The Federal Reserve may also have to reconsider its default position of cutting rates in light of this possible inflationary spike in oil prices.   Read more...


Elizabeth Warren on the rise as Dems prepare for third debate

(9 September 2019) It's been a good summer for Democratic 2020 contender Elizabeth Warren.  The Democrats are due to meet in Houston on Thursday for their third debate as the field has narrowed to just (!) ten candidates.  Former VP and moderate Joe Biden still enjoys a 10-12 point lead in the polls at 29% but the progressive Warren has now moved up to second place to 18%, just ahead of Bernie Sanders at 17%.  Kamala Harris is well back at 7% along with Buttigieg (4%), Yang (3%) Booker (3%) and O'Rourke (2%).

Warren is increasingly seen as the most viable progressive option to Biden as Sanders has so far failed to grow his base of support.  While we don't know her time of birth, her chart cast for noon June 22, 1949 hints at why she has picked up momentum this summer.  The positioning of Saturn has been much better for her in the past two months.  In the spring, Saturn had stationed almost exactly opposite her Venus (25 Gemini).  This may have blocked the advancement of her candidacy as Venus symbolizes happiness, success and social contacts while Saturn translates into restrictions, limits and disappointments.   Read more...


UK PM Boris Johnson issues Brexit ultimatum

(2 September 2019)  The long Brexit melodrama seems to have entered its final act.   Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued an ultimatum to rebel Tory members to either support him or face a snap election.  Faced with the precarious economic prospect of a no-deal Brexit, a group of Conservative Party members want to block Johnson's risky do-or-die approach to final negotiations with the EU.  If the EU rebuffs him and Johnson fails to secure a new deal, the UK will crash out of the EU on October 31 with nothing at all.  Most economists have predicted some fairly dire consequences for the UK if this worst-case scenario comes to pass.

The ongoing political uncertainty comes as no surprise to students of astrology.  As I wrote back in March, the planets looked very unhelpful for a quick or decisive resolution to the Brexit crisis under then-Prime Minister Theresa May.  Indeed, I suggested that things could intensify in September when Saturn was due to station exactly conjunct the Sun in the UK horoscope (1 January 1801; 00.00).   Read more...


Hong Kong protests complicate trade talks

(26 August 2019) The situation in Hong Kong remains tense.  Anti-government protests have been ongoing since June and have recently turned violent.  With no clear path out of the stalemate, the Hong Kong stock market has fallen 10% in August as investors seek safe havens.  Meanwhile, fears are growing that Beijing will lose patience with this affront to its authority and send in the army to crush the protest movement. 

The Hong Kong protests are something of wild card in the continuing US-China trade war.  The Chinese government is probably doubly reticent to use the army since it would complicate the trade negotiations with the US.  In all likelihood, it would scuttle the talks for good, as well as lead to a range of sanctions from most Western countries.  Of course, some analysts have concluded that the talks are already dead until after the US elections next year, no matter how much hopeful jawboning we hear from Trump and Xi.   Read more...


Stocks rebound as central banks plan new stimulus

(19 Aug 2019) Stock markets appeared to stabilize Monday after last week's fixation on recession and the imminent bond yield inversion in the US.   As the global economy slows, central banks are preparing an array of stimulus plans to generate more growth and entice more spending out of an increasingly indebted consumer.  Most government bonds in Japan and Europe now have negative yields and the ECB is considering another round of quantitative easing.   Reports also suggest this time they may even buy stocks directly as a way of luring money out of individual savings accounts and into "risky assets".   But as we have seen, the current fashion of inflating asset prices only makes rich people richer and increases social inequality.  A modern-day Marie Antoinette might say, "let them eat stocks."

Last week saw an increase in volatility despite the bullish Sun-Venus conjunction.  I thought we might have seen more upside although I had been somewhat uncertain given the possible negative influence of Thursday morning's Full Moon.  As it happened, the low in S&P overnight Futures on Thursday morning occurred within an hour of the Full Moon, after which stocks began to climb.   Read more...


Gold tops $1500: how much higher could it go?

(12 August 2019) Financial markets are on high alert for the second straight week.  Stocks fell across the board on Monday on mounting recession fears amid ongoing trade and currency uncertainty.  Investors sought out traditional safe havens such as the Japanese Yen, bonds and gold as stocks were widely sold.  The situation has deteriorated to such an extent that most European sovereign bonds now have a negative yield while 10-year US Treasury is fast-approaching its all-time low yield of 1.34%.

Gold has benefited from the worsening economic conditions as it traded Monday at a six-year high of $1531. Gold has rallied significantly over the past two months as it broke above important technical resistance at $1375 in mid-June.  With China devaluing the Yuan to mitigate the effects of Trump's tariffs, other emerging market currencies are also caught in the trade crossfire.  For now, the relative stability of gold has made it an attractive port in this financial storm.  Read more...


Stocks plunge as US-China trade war escalates

(5 August 2019) "Trade wars are easy to win."   As the US-China trade dispute escalated to new heights over the weekend, US President Donald Trump may well end up regretting his ill-chosen words.  Against the advice of his own advisors, Trump increased tariffs on $300 million worth of Chinese goods last Thursday.  The move shocked markets as stocks around the world sold off sharply.  China retaliated on Sunday by stopping the purchase of US agricultural products and, more importantly, by letting the value of the Yuan fall to the crucial 7.00 level for the first time since the 2008 meltdown.  The devalued Yuan makes China's exports cheaper and thereby is a strategy to avoid the full force of the US tariffs. 

Financial markets sold off sharply again on Monday as the trade war showed signs of getting out of control.  If a trade war is bad, a currency war is much worse, as it increases financial uncertainty and tends to diminish trade and economic activity.  The depression in the 1930s was exacerbated by competitive currency devaluations as countries sought a way out of the slowdown without having to undertake any politically difficult structural adjustment.   Read more...


Saturn-Ketu revisited; Fed meeting on Wednesday

(29 July 2019) As the Federal Reserve prepares to meet Wednesday, the US stock market continues to defy gravity with the indexes at all-time highs.   It's a perfect storm for investors as corporate earnings are generally strong, money is pouring in from abroad, and now the Fed is widely expected to cut rates to make credit even cheaper. 

The "insurance rate cut" of either 25 or 50 basis points may have an immediately calming effect on markets, but by cutting now the Fed is gambling that lower rates can prevent a recession. If it's wrong and we end up in recession anyway, then there will be fewer tools left to kick start the economy.   That would increase the risk that this massive $244 Trillion global debt bubble may finally burst through depression, hyperinflation or war.   But everything is coming up roses for now as the promise of lower rates has lit a fire under stocks.    Read more...


It's Mueller time again; stocks pullback on Fed uncertainty

(22 July 2019) It's Mueller time once again.  Former FBI Director and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is due to testify to Congress on Wednesday.   Mueller will respond to lawmakers questions in the Justice and Intelligence Committees regarding his investigation of Russia's involvement in the US 2016 election.

This will be Mueller's first full public appearance since delivering his report back in April.  His report concluded that Russians did interfere with the elections but he took a more nuanced view of Trump's role.   While no bombshells were forthcoming, he did not exonerate the Trump campaign from illegality in deference to the constitution which holds that sitting presidents cannot be indicted. 

Mueller's testimony will likely determine if impeachment will go forward.  With time running out before the primary season begins in February 2020, the pro-impeachment Democrats are now up against it.  Read more...


Trump's racist tweetstorm unifies Democrats; US stocks at record highs

(15 July 2019) How low can Trump go?  After this past weekend's racist tweets against four minority Democratic congresswomen, it seems there is no floor.  Was there ever?  Previous dog-whistles to his white nationalist base may now be evolving into out-and-out racism as Trump looks for new ways to divide the country (and the Democratic party) and provoke chaos ahead of next year's election.  It may well be his only hope.

Trump's target was the Squad -- a group of four left-wing Democrats led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who have strongly criticized Trump for his immigration policy and treatment of refugee claimants on the southern border.  Last week AOC, as she is known, delivered passionate testimony of the terrible conditions facing asylum-seekers in Texas border detention camps.  Just 29 years old and elected to Congress last year, she has become the face of the left progressive wing of the Democrats.   Read more...


Will Trump be re-elected in 2020? (First in a series)

(8 July 2019) The presidency of Donald Trump has been the most controversial and divisive in decades.  Trump's radical nationalist agenda is a clear break from the more outward-looking stance of previous US administrations.  His aggressive and unpredictable tendencies have created havoc on the world scene as allies have largely rejected his transactional approach to diplomacy and trade.  His presidency is historically unpopular as his support has never cracked the 50% level and now in Year 3 remains stuck in the mid to lower 40s. 

And yet with his GOP base seemingly as loyal to him as ever, there is still a decent chance that he could be re-elected in November 2020.  So what do the stars say?

Since we are still sixteen months away from the election, I wanted to address this question in a comprehensive way over a series of posts.   Read more...


Kamala Harris shines in debate; S&P 500 hits record high

(1 July 2019) The race to be the Democratic nominee in 2020 is heating up.  The Democratic party held their first debate last week and Kamala Harris was the clear winner.  The California Senator bested frontrunner Joe Biden on the topic of race and his record on mandatory busing.  Biden appeared uncertain and rambled at times while Harris was sharp and well-prepared.  New polls still show Biden with a lead of 10-15 points but Harris has improved her standing significantly and matches the support levels of  Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.  Biden may still have the lead but now it's anybody's race.  

Fortunately, we know Kamala Harris' birth time thanks to the research efforts of Oregon-based astrologer, Steven Stuckey.  According to her birth certificate, Harris was born 20 October 1964 at 9.28 p.m in Oakland, CA.   Read more...


Trump impeachment pressure increasing

(24 June 2019) The clock could be ticking on the Trump presidency as Democrats appear to be moving closer to opening impeachment proceedings.  In a weekend interview, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff suggested that the ongoing refusal of the White House to cooperate with several House investigations could lead to a constitutional crisis.  While Schiff stated that he does not support impeachment now, he was clearly open to the idea if the Trump administration continues its stonewalling.  Speaker Nancy Pelosi is still against impeachment but the change in tone of the high-ranking Schiff is potentially significant.

As I have been suggesting for some time, the summer of 2019 looks extremely stressful for Trump and the US as a whole.   Trump's horoscope is burdened by the Saturn square aspect to his Jupiter.  Jupiter is a key source of Trump's power and good fortune, so this Saturn influence is likely to weaken him.  Saturn has been retrograde and thus in a close square with Jupiter since late April.   Read more... 


Trump trails Biden in polls; markets await Fed

(17 June 2019)  Predictably, the past few days have been sub-par for US President Donald Trump.  New polls released last week for the 2020 election show Trump well behind all Democrat contenders with Trump 13 points behind former Vice-President Joe Biden.  Trump's leaked internal polling confirmed that he is well behind, including in most swing states. After hearing of the leak of bad poll news, Trump promptly fired his pollsters. 

This bad news for Trump coincided closely with the Mars-Saturn alignment I had noted last week .  It hit his natal Jupiter almost exactly and strongly incline him towards difficulty since Jupiter is his dasha ruler. I thought he may have also had some additional legal or financial troubles with this transit but aside from the usual tales of corruption, malfeasance and obstruction, nothing stood out.

Joe Biden is emerging as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.   Read more...


Markets rally as Trump claims victory in Mexico border deal

(10 June 2019) Nobody said that the Trump presidency was going to be boring.  After threatening to impose tariffs on Mexico, US President Donald Trump appeared to get a win after a deal was struck to try to reduce the number of Central American migrants headed for the US-Mexico border.  Trump's tariff threat had caught financial markets off-guard last week, but markets quickly recovered and then extended their gains today (June 10) with news of the weekend agreement. 

If anything, Trump has become more unpredictable and combative in recent weeks amid growing calls for impeachment proceedings to begin in the House of Representatives.   Tariff talks with China seem to be going nowhere as the trade war has escalated further.  US economic data has started to weaken as last Friday's poor jobs report confirmed the emerging down trend in growth.  A recession is looking more likely by next year which also happens to be an election year.  The stock market is still close to its highs due to the jawboning from the Fed and its promise to cut interest rates if the economic uncertainty continues.   Read more...


Google plunges 6% on antitrust fears

(3 June 2019) As it turns out, maybe size does matter.  Large US technology stocks fell sharply on Monday on reports that the Department of Justice is undertaking an antitrust probe of Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple.  While there are no concrete measures in place yet, the US government is looking into increasing regulatory oversight of "big tech" as a means of restoring fair competition.  Investors fear that greater regulation will cut into bottom line profitability and may even go so far as breaking-up some of these huge companies.

News of the investigation hit Google shares especially hard which fell 6% today to $1038.  This latest decline comes after a large correction in the month of May which saw shares of the search engine giant down 20% from its April 29 high of $1296.  

We can quickly spot the problems in the Google IPO horoscope.  One of the basic rules of financial astrology is that transit hits from bad planets like Mars and Saturn usually correspond with declines.  This is more likely when a weakened natal planets is involved.   Read more...


Is China losing the trade war?

(27 May 2019) Trump's sunny tweets notwithstanding, it may be that US-China trade war is just beginning.  Financial markets are unsettled after last week's escalation of rhetoric as China doubled down on its refusal to submit to US demands regarding intellectual property and technology transfer.   Once we pass this tit-for-tat tariffs stage, there are any number of options the Chinese could consider.  They could sell their US Treasury bonds thus forcing up US interest rates.  Or they could make it more difficult for US companies like Apple to manufacture in China.  Or they could even initiate an outright ban on US products entering the country.  Chinese media have already begun a soft campaign to embarrass owners of the iPhone.   

If a compromise deal is not reached soon, then China could begin these Phase 2-type actions against the US.  And let's not forget about the possibility that the trade war could morph into a more aggressive geopolitical confrontation.  Taiwan would be an obvious target in the event that the trade war escalated further.   Read more...


Modi to return as PM: Indian exit polls

(20 May 2019) Exit polls suggest that India's PM Narendra Modi is likely to return to power.  While India's Lok Sabha election result will be formally announced on Thursday May 23, Sunday's closely-watched exit polls pointed towards an even bigger majority this time for Modi's NDA alliance.  Markets soared on the exit poll news as the BSE-Sensex gained almost 4% in Monday's session.

The national horoscope for India shows why Modi is likely to return as Prime Minister.  In my experience, sitting incumbent leaders are typically re-elected if the Sun is well-aspected in the national chart.  The Sun represents the government as a whole as well as the head of the executive branch.   The 10th house should also be strong at the time of the election or the announcement of results. 

Immediately, we can see why the planets favour Modi at this time: Jupiter (27 Scorpio) is closely aspecting the Sun (28 Cancer) within one degree of a benefic 120-degree trine aspect.   Read more...


You reap what you sow: China retaliates after Trump's tariffs

(13 May 2019)  So much for winning.  Markets took the full impact of the deteriorating US-China trade relationship on Monday as stocks sold off sharply.  The Dow followed most global markets lower falling more than 600 points after China responded to Friday's US tariffs with new tariffs of their own.  Trump's confrontational approach to China appears to be blowing up in his face as a negotiated deal is nowhere in sight.  Without much hope of a future settlement, stock markets are anticipating a slowdown in economic activity and marking down asset values.

This negative outcome is in keeping with my expectation as the ongoing Saturn-Ketu conjunction is starting to deliver the bearish goods.  Last week, I thought the alignments looked more negative than positive and we did see some significant downside through the week.  The early week Mars-Jupiter opposition in particular saw a large decline in stocks globally.  Friday's bearish Sun-Saturn-Ketu alignment coincided with the low of the week, although US markets did recover by the close.  Read more...


Trump surprises markets with new China tariff threat

(6 May 2019)  He who lives by the Trump, dies by the Trump.  Market participants may have been contemplating some adapted biblical wisdom today as stocks fell sharply after the mercurial US President tweeted Sunday that tariffs on Chinese goods would be raised to 25% on Friday.   Despite months of reassurance by the White House that a US-China trade deal was just around the corner, Trump has suddenly decided to play hardball after accusing China of reneging on what had already been agreed upon.

While stocks partially recovered by Monday's close in New York, confidence has been shaken.  It is unclear where the trade deal stands now as the China delegation is due in Washington for another round of negotiations on Wednesday. 

One perspective on this question can be found in the combined horoscopes of Donald Trump and  Xi Jinping.  Read more...


Sell in May and go away?

(29 April 2019)  The stock market remains buoyant after Friday's 3.2% US GDP number and generally positive earnings reports.  Some US indexes have made new all-time highs although the large cap Dow and the small cap Russell 2000 have yet to follow the S&P 500 and NASDAQ into record territory.  Corporate America is thriving in Trump's low-tax, low-regulation environment, albeit with a helping hand for the Fed and its ultra-loose monetary policies that encourages leveraging through higher debt levels.  We're probably living in an asset bubble that is not sustainable in the long run, but as Keynes said, "in the long run, we are all dead."

There is an old adage in the stock market to "sell in May and go away" since historical returns from May to October are lower than through the rest of the year.   Read more...


Aspects in focus ahead of possible Saturn trigger sequence

(22 April 2019) Aspects are one of the central building blocks of astrology.  Briefly stated, an aspect is an astrologically significant angle between two planets that is said to produce an observable real-world outcome.  If Jupiter is conjunct your Moon with no degrees of separation, then that's good.  If Mars is square and therefore separated by 90 degrees from your Moon, then that's bad.

And yet as fundamental as aspects are, there is a wide range of opinion about them.  As a continuous written body of knowledge, Vedic astrology has a more fixed set of rules governing planetary aspects.  While all planets cast a full-strength aspect on the planets opposite, different planets have the capacity to cast different aspects.  For example, Saturn casts a forward sextile (60 degree) and a backwards square (270 degrees) but not a forward square (90 degrees), nor a trine (120 degree aspect). 

Western astrology has a far less unified view of aspects.   Read more...


Saturn conjoins Ketu: the calm before the storm?

(15 April 2019) Financial markets appear to be on auto-pilot these days as the grind higher continues.  After its scary Christmas low, the bull market would appear to back on track against a background of easy central bank money (i.e. debt) and the promise of a US-China trade deal that, like Godot, never seems to arrive. The strength of the rebound in the first quarter was not unexpected from the astrological point of view given the extended dominance of Jupiter. 

When Jupiter is strong through alignment with other planets or by sign placement, stocks usually rise.  That was definitely the case as Jupiter aligned with Neptune in January and then with Pluto in February and March.  Jupiter then stationed retrograde last week on April 10 in Sagittarius, a sign in which it does particularly well.  But now that Jupiter is moving backwards towards Scorpio, we may be on the verge of a shift in the terrain.   Read more...


Can the market rally continue after Mercury enters Pisces?

(2 April 2019) Stocks have moved higher over the past week on hints that the long-awaited US-China trade deal may be getting closer to completion.  As the month of April begins, the Dow has again pushed above 26,000 matching its February high.  Indian stocks have fared even better as the BSE Sensex set a new all-time record high today of 39,056.  While economic growth threatens to stall the economies of the US and Europe, Indian stocks have outperformed because of a significantly higher growth rate and improving investment climate under the Modi government.  While it is possible the results of the upcoming elections could change that favourable equation, the default expectation is for Modi to return to power.

These gains are in keeping with expectations as I suggested that last week's entry of Jupiter into sidereal Sagittarius was likely to correlate with some upside.  The bullish outlook was even more likely due to the midweek Venus-Uranus-Chiron alignment.  Read more...


Mueller report says no Russia-Trump conspiracy as Jupiter enters Sagittarius

(24 March 2019) They don't call Jupiter the Great Benefic for nothing.  Just ask President Donald Trump.  Today, US Special Counsel Robert Mueller finally handed down his report into the possible conspiracy between the Russian government and Trump campaign during the 2016 election.  Mueller found that there was no evidence for a conspiracy although he did not exonerate Trump for possible obstruction of justice charges.  While the full details of the report are not yet known, the initial impact has been positive for Trump and his beleaguered administration.

While I still expect the other shoe to drop for the Trump administration later this year, I was not surprised by this finding.  Trump's horoscope is looking pretty good these days, mostly due to the favourable placement of transiting Jupiter.  Jupiter (29 Scorpio) is slowing down now ahead of its retrograde station on April 10.  It is in close conjunction with his Moon (28 Scorpio) and also activates his Sun (29 Taurus) by opposition.  So this Jupiter transit was doubly positive for Trump since it aligned with both the Moon and Sun.   Read more...


Markets await Fed decision tomorrow

(19 March 2019) The Federal Reserve meets tomorrow to issue its latest policy pronouncements on the state of the US economy.  Financial markets are not anticipating any changes in interest rates but Chair Jay Powell's language will be watched carefully as usual.  Since the Fed suddenly reversed itself in early January to a more dovish stance (i.e. no more hikes), stock markets have risen sharply as the low current interest rate environment can keep the debt-driven expansion afloat a while longer. 

While the continued low rates are good news for the markets, the economic data is starting to show signs of a slowdown.  A recession in the US is looking increasingly possible within the next 6-12 months.  Investors now have to weigh the relative benefit of the Fed's cheap money with the likelihood of lower corporate earnings.   Read more...



To Brexit or not to Brexit, that is the question

(12 March 2019) The UK edged one step closer to the precipice today as Parliament voted down a second Brexit proposal by Prime Minister Theresa May.  It was a crushing defeat for Ms. May after apparently negotiating better terms with her EU counterpart in Brussels.  The UK Parliament is due to vote on a no-deal Brexit tomorrow (Wednesday) which is widely expected to be defeated.  It will then vote for an extension of Article 50 on Thursday to ask Brussels for a delay past the March 29th deadline to leave the EU.  If the Thursday vote passes, then anything is possible, including a fresh elections, a second referendum and maybe no Brexit at all. 

It's a chaotic situation with no easy solutions.  To be honest, I have no idea what's going happen.  When there is more than two possible outcomes to a situation, it is more difficult to make an astrological prediction. Typically, good transits point to a constructive resolution while bad transits coincide with tension, conflict and an ongoing state of frustration. But here we have at least four possible outcomes, each with its own pros and cons: no-deal Brexit, the postponement of Brexit (but only if the EU consents), fresh elections, or a second referendum.   Read more...


Mercury turns retrograde on Canada's Justin Trudeau

(4 March 2019)  It may be a good time to get your ducks in a row -- just in case.  Mercury, the planetary mischief-maker, is due to turn retrograde tomorrow, Tuesday, March 5.   Our solar system's innermost planet will station at 5 degrees of sidereal Pisces, and then begin its three-week backwards journey through the night sky.  It returns to normal forward motion on March 28 after stationing at 22 degrees of Aquarius. 

Mercury retrograde cycles have a bad reputation for bringing all manner of confusion, frustration and disruption to our normal routines.  Perhaps nobody knows this better than Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.   Actually, Trudeau has been on the defensive for the past month or so as his government is at the center of a corruption scandal that threatens to bring down his whole administration.   The opposition parties and many media pundits have been calling for a formal inquiry, and his resignation.   Read more...


Jupiter (and Fed policy) drive gold price higher

(22 February 2019) With all the talk about the economy slowing down and the possibility of a recession, it may be a good time to reconsider gold.  As the Fed and other central banks shift their policies towards monetary easing, (i.e. lower interest rates, more asset purchases, holding higher amounts of debt on their balance sheets), gold may be in a better position to rise in value.  As central banks intervene by printing more money, the amount of debt increases.  This devalues the currency and thereby increases the risk of inflation.  Enter gold, as the safe haven and traditional store of value which acts as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement.

Gold has steadily risen over the past six months from a low of $1167 last August to a high this week of $1350.  Gold fell sharply on Thursday to $1327, however, but remains above its key support level of $1300.  Can gold continue to move higher or is it destined to slip back into its previous trading range?   Read more...


Markets tread water ahead of possible second US shutdown

(11 February 2019) The dysfunction of the US government is again on display this week with the approach of another shutdown deadline.  As before, the sticking point is funding for Trump's border wall with Mexico.  With the current three-week emergency funding measure winding down, talks have broken off between an increasingly defensive GOP and a more emboldened Democratic Party.  The deadline for a deal is Friday the 15th at midnight.

A quick look at President Trump's horoscope shows that his position is unlikely to improve this week.  Mars is conjunct Uranus in the 9th house indicating trouble and sudden conflict involving legal bodies (Congress!) and perhaps foreign countries and their governments.  Moreover, the conjunction occurs at 5-6 degrees of Aries which aligns exactly with his Ascendant at 6 Leo.  The planets indicate this is a moment of very intense conflict.  By itself, it does not reveal if he is more likely to win or lose this battle. 

But other planetary positions look more difficult.   Read more...


After shutdown defeat, Trump prepares for SOTU on Feb 5

(29 January 2019) The chaotic presidency of Donald Trump has now entered its third, and possibly final, year.  Last week, the US government shutdown was finally resolved after Trump caved and agreed to a temporary three-week stopgap spending bill.  It's anyone's guess what happens on February 15 when the bill expires as Trump has vowed to build his controversial border wall one way or another.  Another shutdown is possible, or Trump may declare a state of emergency to override the Democrats' opposition. 

Before that, Trump will give his State of the Union address (SOTU) before Congress on Tuesday, February 5.  It promises to be a moment of high political theater as Trump confronts what is likely to be a hostile, Democrat-controlled House.  The planets suggest the SOTU will be a contentious affair as Mars will be prominent in the first degree of sidereal Aries.   Read more...


Powell blinks: markets rally after Fed Chair's dovish comments

 (15 January 2019) Financial markets are looking a bit more stable now after the Federal Reserve seemed to dial back its commitment to higher interest rates and quantitative tightening.  Stocks have rallied strongly following the dovish comments from Fed Chair Jay Powell which reduced the likelihood of more rate hikes in 2019.   This bullish investor reaction was another reminder how dependent the stock market is on these historically low interest rates and how captive the Fed is to the stock market.  

Because the stock market is so deeply intertwined with the US and global economy, any major decline will force the Fed's hand.  The "wealth effect" requires the Fed to support stock prices in order to improve sentiment and thereby encourage consumer spending.   After all, if consumers see the value of their 401k declining precipitously, they are less likely to spend their money.  This essentially broadens the mandate of the Federal Reserve to include inflation, employment and the stock market.  Read more...


Beware the bear: how 2019 may be a repeat of 1937

(7 January 2019) The New Year got off to a positive start for most global stocks as investors tried to put the unnerving 2018 decline behind them.  Friday saw a surge of more than 3% on US markets on the perfect storm of a strong US jobs report, an interest rate cut in China and above all a dovish statement from Fed Chair Jay Powell not to hike too quickly, if at all.   Markets are still fragile and there remains considerable uncertainty about what may lie ahead for this year.

My basic expectation is that stocks may well recover somewhat over the next two or three months but that the planetary alignments look very bearish for much of the year.  As I see it, 2019 is shaping up to be a negative year for most global stock markets as a bear market is likely.  Even if there is a significant recovery going into spring, it seems unlikely they will return to their previous highs.  Read more...






 


lotus33