The Feel Good Factor: Mercury, Venus and the Stock Market

“Stock investors remained focused on feel-good stories.”Wall Street Journal, Feb 27, 2008

Why was the stock market up yesterday despite falling home prices, record oil, a dollar low against the Euro, and wholesale inflation numbers not seen since 1981? Mercury conjoined Venus.

Mercury rules news, and Venus is about feeling good. When these two planets are conjoined, people are more inclined to focus on the pleasantries of life. It’s the love story with the happy ending.

The stock market was no exception. Mercury and Venus were conjoined in Aquarius, a sign that rules electronics and computer technology. IBM closed up $4.30 to $114.38 after raising its 2008 earnings forecast, and announcing another stock buyback valued at about $15 billion. Intel (INTC), and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), joined IBM as the top three DJIA percentage gainers yesterday.

Aquarius also rules the unexpected. Logically, one would surmise that record setting food and energy prices would diminish consumers’ purchasing power to buy discretionary goods and services. According to Pete McCorry, a senior trader at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, the market viewed it this way: “You’ve got the Treasury Department handing out checks, and the Fed looks like it’s going to remain on a path of easing, which should lessen the burden on the consumer.”* Venus rules consumer discretionary goods. This is why jeweler Zale (ZLC) closed up $1.18 to $17.93. Macy’s closed up $1.76 to $26.52. The upside came despite lower sales and the retailer’s announcement that it would no longer provide quarterly sales and earnings guidance.

Investors should keep in mind that Mercury conjoining Venus is usually a one day influence. When the book has been read and the movie ends, it’s back to the longer term influences of the slower moving planets Jupiter through Pluto.

Related Post: Weekly Forecast. Check out the Cycles section at Wall Street Weather.

* Mr. McCorry was quoted in the 2/27/08 WSJ.

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