Virus pandemic fears sink stocks

(24 February 2020) Stock markets around the world plunged today on fears that the coronavirus has now reached pandemic status with major new outbreaks in Iran, Italy and South Korea.  Europe suffered the worst losses with Germany down 4%, while India lost 2% and the US fell more than 3%.  Investors now are beginning to factor in the possibility that the virus could significantly impact many economies outside of China.  Travel and tourism have already suffered significant declines as people are travelling less, and now the prospect of extensive lockdowns and quarantines threaten to hamper both production and consumption.  It all spells a potentially damaging phase for an already weakened global economy. 

This negative outcome was not surprising to the astrologically inclined as there was a clearly bearish planetary set up for early this week.  Mars (11 Sagittarius) conjoined the South Lunar Node (Ketu) which is often bearish as it can correlate with higher volatility and unpredictable situations. 

But Monday's alignments were that much more potent because there were two other planets involved: the Sun was sitting on the 11th degree of Aquarius and therefore in aspect with Rahu, the North Lunar Node.  The Nodes are destabilizing influences and tend to amplify negativity if associated with a malefic planet like Mars, as in the case here.  In addition, retrograde Mercury (14 Aquarius) isn't far away and so it is also under the destabilizing influence of the 120-degree/5th house aspect of Rahu. 

By itself, these transit aspects would likely have produced a 1% down day in any event.  But we had a much deeper decline in the US today because they aligned with the Ascendant and 8th house cusp of the S&P 500 horoscope.  The Mars-Ketu conjunction exactly conjoined the 8th house cusp and therefore formed a close 150 degree angle with the Ascendant.  According to the principles of Vedic astrology, the 8th house is the most malefic house in the whole chart and reflects situations of disappointment, obstacles and setbacks when it is activated through transits.

So what happens next?  Ketu will remain in very close conjunction to the 8th house cusp for the next few weeks so there is still some risk of more volatility in the stock market.  However, Mars moves much more quickly and will begin to move away from Ketu tomorrow so I would not be surprised to see some upside in the near term.  Futures are higher at the time of writing (10 pm EST) so some kind of relief bounce may be on the way this week. 

However, Mercury will form an even closer alignment with Mars and Ketu over the next couple of days, so we sould not be surprised if there is another down day in the mix here.  That said, the Moon conjoins Venus on Thursday and then Venus aligns with Pluto on Friday.  These are both bullish influences which may provide some fuel for any potential relief rally.  An eventual gap fill to 3320 is also not out of the question depending on how tomorrow goes.

Next week may be another story, however. 

For more details and potential timing scenarios, check out my weekly subscriber newsletter which is published every Saturday afternoon (EST).   I outline the key technical and planetary influences for US and Indian stocks for the short and medium term, as well as currencies, gold and oil.

Photo: Rocky Mountain Labs, NIAID/US NIH

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