Published by WallStreetWeather.net
Most economic reports last week came in better than expected, along with better than expected quarterly earnings and future guidance from companies such as Ford (F) and Cisco (CSCO). Cisco CEO John Chambers, who spoke about the coming recession in 2007, said he sees a global economic recovery underway. I suppose Warren Buffett agrees since Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A/B) paid top dollar ($26.3 billion/$100 a share deal) Tuesday to acquire the remaining 77% of Burlington Northern (BNI) Berkshire didn’t already own instead of buying the railroad giant “when other investors are fearful.”
Although there have been companies reporting actual growth during the last quarter, once again most of the companies “beating the Street” did so through additional cost cutting measures. On an annualized basis, Q3 nonfarm productivity was the strongest since 1961. The average work week dropped to a record low of 33 hours in October. Overtime hours increased slightly as companies are handling increases in demand by stretching the workers they have, preferring to hoard cash.
The gains made by Wall St. and some of America’s largest corporations is of little comfort right now to the 15.7 million people who “officially” have lost their job since the recession “officially” began in December 2007. The “official” count of the “unofficial” unemployment rate is now 17.5%. 190,000 jobs were lost in October, propelling the unemployment rate to 10.2%. 1 in 10 Americans out of work is the highest rate of unemployment since April 1983 – the last time Saturn was in Libra.
Saturn represents contraction. Saturn in Libra in the early 1980s conjoined Pluto, which began a new cycle of business prosperity and the bull market. Saturn in Libra is challenging Pluto in Capricorn now through most of 2010. What brought the economy out of recession at the beginning of the Saturn/Pluto cycle in 1982 will not work now as we are in the ending phase of the Saturn/Pluto cycle.*
As I wrote in my Saturn in Libra post, unemployment reached a high of 10.8% in November and December 1982. By April 1983, unemployment had dropped to the level currently reported. Jupiter (expansion) conjoins Uranus (sharp/sudden moves; unexpected events) about every 12 years. Jupiter conjoining Uranus in Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius during most of 1983 reflected that the economy was growing.
On January 17, 2010, Jupiter will enter Pisces, the sign that was traditionally ruled by Jupiter until Neptune’s discovery in 1846. As the last sign of the zodiac, Pisces marks the end one cycle that plants the seeds to sprout in the new cycle. Jupiter will rapidly move through Pisces during the first half of 2010, forming harmonious alignments to the USA Venus (money/banking system), Jupiter, and Mercury (communications/transportation) in Cancer.
Saturn will re-enter Virgo April 7-July 21, 2010. Virgo rules the workforce, and Saturn in Virgo since September 2007 has accelerated the downturn in employment. Saturn will oppose Uranus in Pisces on April 26, marking the fourth time that the energies of Saturn (maintaining the status quo) vs. Uranus (reform/future direction) have been engaging in a two steps forward/one step backward dance since Election Day 2008.**
Saturn opposing Uranus together with Saturn challenging transformative Pluto (November 15, 2009, January 31 and August 21, 2010), indicate taking responsibility for the current situation by learning the lessons of the past several years as the USA experiences its Saturn return during 2010-11.*** All of these planetary energies require taking action that in the long term will create a sustainable economy instead of a band aid quick fix that serves political agendas yet only prolongs the pain.
Jupiter will conjoin Uranus June 8 and September 18, 2010, and January 4, 2011. The first alignment will occur when Jupiter and Uranus make a brief debut at the beginning of Aries, and the last two will occur at the end of Pisces. As the first sign of the zodiac, Aries is enthusiastic about taking action to start new endeavors which will help to heat up the economy, particularly in infrastructure, the electrical grid, aerospace, and completely new inventions. This will also include new forms of energy. Expect the U.S. to begin an industrial leap forward that will leave the emerging markets and Japan to copy us.
In late July 2010, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto will be at the beginning of cardinal (action-oriented) signs. Although Saturn and Pluto are in a waning cycle, these planets at the beginning of cardinal signs will initiate a new direction for our economy and society. While these planetary alignments will be challenging, they also represent the courage and motivation to pioneer ahead. Employment should begin to show signs of growth by the second half of 2010.
Jupiter was last in Pisces when hedge fund Long Term Capital Management imploded. With Jupiter conjoining Uranus in Pisces in 2010, hedge funds could be the next act of the financial crisis if left unchecked. Pisces rules asset bubbles, and Jupiter in Pisces conjoining Uranus can indicate the sharp collapse of asset price bubbles. These energies also indicate that inflation is likely to spike sooner and sharper than the Federal Reserve is prepared for.
Between the bubble bursting and looming financial regulation, the irony here is that as Main St. begins to show signs of recovery, Wall St.’s profits will be waning.
*Saturn will conjoin Pluto on January 12, 2020.
**Saturn opposite Uranus: November 4, 2008, February 5 and September 15, 2009, April 26 and July 26, 2010. It’s important to keep in mind that these are long term planetary influences that are in effect before and after all the exact dates listed in this post.
***A Saturn return occurs about every 28.5 years when transiting Saturn conjoins natal Saturn. For countries as well as individuals (age 28/29, 58/59, etc.), it marks a time of testing and learning life’s lessons. Dedication, doing good work, and not living beyond one’s means tends to reap benefits at the next Saturn return.