US virus shutdown as Trump gets serious; stocks tank again

(16 March 2020)  Even Donald Trump has to face facts eventually.  After weeks of dismissing the coronavirus as a hoax, a conspiracy or "just the flu",  today the US president finally got serious about the virus that is shutting down the US, as well as the rest of the world outside China.   Trump recommended Americans stop all social activity involving groups larger than 10 people, stop going to restaurants and bars, and stop all discretionary travel for the next 15 days. 

In his most forthright press conference to date, Trump warned that the virus could remain a problem until the summer and that a recession was now possible as large portions of the US economy has been temporarily shut down.  The stock market fell sharply again on Monday, despite an unprecedented weekend intervention by the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates to zero and to buy $700 Billion in Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities.  The S&P 500 closed below 2400 and is now testing its December 2018 low of 2346. 

These are scary times.  While the US and other countries will pass through this storm just as China did last month, it is still unclear when life will improve, let alone get back to normal. The authoritarian Chinese government imposed draconian quarantines on millions of people, but other countries may be loathe to force a lockdown for fear of creating even more social problems.  That said, most citizens seem to be onboard with a voluntary shutdown of public places as a way slow the transmission of the virus and relieve pressure on hospitals. 

Trump's horoscope is reflective of the current coronavirus pandemic in the US.  As the head of state, many astrologers hold that the ups and downs of the president's horoscope mirror the ups and downs of the country.  That would very much appear to be case here as the Mercury-Saturn alignment is currently in  close alignment with Trump's Ascendant.  Mercury just stationed direct at 6 Aquarius over the weekend, while Saturn is placed at 5 Capricorn.  Both of these planets are in close alignment to Trump's Ascendant at 6 Leo.  Interestingly, malefic Saturn is closely conjunct Trump's 6th house of health and is one tell-tale indication of the health challenges that face the US. 

Moreover, Pluto (0 Capricorn), the planet of power, control and coercion, is exactly opposite Trump's natal Saturn (0 Cancer), which is also the ruler of his 6th house of health.  This once-in-a-hundred-year pandemic is likely the result of these simultaneous hits from malefics Saturn and Pluto to key health points in his chart, the 6th house cusp and the 6th house ruler.

The short term looks difficult as transiting Mars will align with Pluto and together they will oppose Trump's Saturn.  This looks very grim and would likely represent a worsening of the virus in the US in the coming days.  And it would also likely reflect Trump's deepening personal and political difficulties arising from this national crisis.  Trump himself may come under enormous physical and mental stress early next week when Mars exactly opposes Saturn.  It is also possible that Trump's own health may be impacted by this transit.

And yet there is reason for hope.  Jupiter is approaching a 120 degree aspect to Trump's Midheaven (MC) over the next two weeks.  This will be activated first by Venus late next week (March 26-27) so some good news may be forthcoming.  Perhaps cases may start to level off by that time.  But on a more cautionary note, Mars will be conjunct Saturn over that final weekend in March and therefore still in the vicinity of Trump's 6th house cusp.  That still suggests major stress and difficulties involving health so it is a very mixed picture. 

This is all quite speculative, however, because the president's chart is both his personal chart and a proxy for the nation as a whole.  Good transits therefore could represent gains for Trump without necessarily benefiting the country, and vice-versa.  And yet given the intensity of this crisis, it seems likely that an uptick in his horoscope would likely reflect improvements in the coronavirus outbreak.

But the Jupiter-Pluto alignment to his MC points to significant improvements which ought to imply a positive turn of the pandemic in the US.  We can also see that Venus will enter Taurus and his 10th house of status on March 28 and will remain there for all of April and into May.   This is another plus for Trump and probably for the US also since a well-aspected 10th house will translate into career successes and better public approval.  Things may change, however, when Venus turns retrograde on May 13.

Weekly Market Forecast

It was another bloodbath on financial markets today as last week's selling continued unabated despite the Fed's interventions.  The bearish Mercury-Saturn alignment was in effect for all of last week and even into today.  I thought we might have seen more of a turnaround once Mercury ended its retrograde cycle early last week but the that was not the case as the alignment with Saturn proved to be more important than its direction. 

Mercury is slowly moving away from its alignment with Saturn this week so there is a prima facie case for a bounce as we head into the Fed meeting on Wednesday.  The late week lacks clarity although large moves are possible on the Mars-Jupiter conjunction.  I might hold out some hope for some upside this week, even if I would continue to be very cautious.  The first half of next week looks pretty nasty given the Mars-Pluto conjunction.

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