Updated at 7:49 March 28: Google's editor stripped out paragraph breaks and white space from my post so I had to go in and hard code the HTML.
NOTE: After four attempts I am unable at this time to figure out how to correct Blogger from deleting my page breaks in this post. I will see if I can fix it tomorrow.
Summary Of Last Week's Influences:
As the Sun conjoined Uranus following the Vernal Equinox, markets continued on the upward trajectory they began on March 17. The Dow gained 3.1% for the week, its biggest weekly percentage gain since July (see next section).
Geopolitical turmoil in the Middle East, a powerful earthquake/tsunami and the ensuing nuclear fallout with parts delays that are already affecting production at GM and Ford plants in the U.S., yet the market doesn’t seem to care. This shows that the real black swan is that the market is no longer shocked by their appearance, preferring to see any crisis as an opportunity to make money since the market has rebounded from all types of crisis in the past (although none were nuclear related).
Yet what should be taken as signs of caution is that the market has been rising on very low volume (Friday’s volume was the lowest so far this year). Margin debt has been rising since last summer and is now back to pre-crisis (July 2008) levels which means that if the market suddenly and sharply reverses, investors will have to sell what they can which will exacerbate any decline.
Summary Of This Week’s Influences:
Saturday’s Last Quarter Moon means that we have reached the “crisis in consciousness” phase of the current lunar cycle that began at the March 5 Pisces New Moon.(1) During this phase of the cycle existing issues and situations might not be working out as expected.
The influence of the Last Quarter Moon in Capricorn (March 26 – April 3) occurs at the same degree as the June 26, 2010 Lunar Eclipse. The major indices declined to their lowest levels of 2010 on July 2 over what was then called a “trifecta of worries” (European sovereign debt crisis spilling over into Spain and Portugal, signs of China’s slowing growth, and a stagnating U.S. recovery) that still linger.(2)
The Lunar Eclipse and the Last Quarter Moon conjoined Pluto in Capricorn which is barely moving now as from Earth’s viewpoint Pluto will appear to be motionless in the sky April 2-15 as it turns retrograde April 9. This makes Pluto’s intense energy more pronounced than normal.
Since Pluto rules nuclear power, it means that more attention will be focused on nuclear issues and particularly the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant which celebrated its 40th Birthday the day of the Last Quarter Moon. As described in my post about the plant’s “six personalities,” the situation differs from what is being presented. Pluto stations retrograde right on the plant’s natal Mars in Capricorn which is involved in a square to the Sun in Mars-ruled Aries and Uranus in Libra, increasing the potential for nuclear meltdown. Mars moving into Aries Saturday and conjoining explosive Uranus at next Sunday’s New Moon in Aries indicates time is rapidly running out for a breakthrough to avert a disaster. The highly radioactive puddles of water near the #2 reactor reflects the heavy water element emphasis I described and Mercury, Saturn (and possibly the Moon) in watery Cancer squaring Pluto.
Anything occult is part of Pluto’s domain but so are the sleuths determined to uncover what has been obscured and purposely kept hidden to come to the surface. Mercury in Aries turning retrograde later Wednesday afternoon until April 23 (scroll down) serves as a reminder to think things through before jumping into action. Combined with Pluto’s influence, the message is to intensely focus on what is being said because by doing so you also pick up what is not being said.
Using the Fukushima plant as an example since Mercury turns retrograde conjoining the plant’s progressed Mercury in Aries, the market zeroed in like a laser beam on the news that electricity was being hooked up to the plant.(3) But the world was not told how the electricity would be used. Turning on the lights is not the same as getting the cooling pumps to operate! With optimistic Jupiter in its home sign Sagittarius conjoining Neptune the planetary energy of illusions when the plant began operating, anything adverse is greatly glossed over and even falsified.
Of course Pluto presides over a lot of other things besides nuclear power such as power in general! With the Sun (self-identity) squaring Pluto on Monday, those in power will fight to maintain their grip on it. But Pluto in Capricorn indicates it’s time for Pluto to transform government, corporate, and societal structures that have become too corrupt and beholden to the plutocrats.
The Sun rules speculation, Pluto rules M&A, and the square relationship between the two motivates action which is why the Sun squaring Pluto tends to get the market excited about mergers or the potential for them. As the lord of the underworld, Pluto in Capricorn has boosted speculation in commodities mined from below the Earth’s surface (with a great deal of the boost fueled by rock bottom interest rates needed to make it feasible to hold physical commodities).
Congress returns from their spring recess Monday and must pass a budget agreement for the current fiscal year before midnight April 8 to avoid a government shutdown just hours before Pluto turns retrograde. The Last Quarter Moon conjoins the degree Mercury in Capricorn went retrograde December 10. Pluto rules taxes and as Mercury (legislation) and Mars (action) conjoined Pluto then, President Obama and Congressional leaders forged an agreement to extend the Bush tax cuts together with a temporary reduction in payroll taxes.
I’ve explained in previous posts that the U.S. was born when Mercury was retrograde which is why Congress seems to be more motivated to get busy and pass legislation when Mercury is retrograde. This retrograde period will be no exception since Mercury turns retrograde squaring the U.S. natal Mercury in Cancer and Mercury, Jupiter and the New Moon are in the sector representing Congress in the April 3 New Moon chart set for Washington DC. Events in Washington will be the central focus of attention over the next month but it appears that any meaningful budget reductions are more likely to get pushed into the future. Pluto rules debt and deficits; it appears likely that Congress will approve raising the debt ceiling without a battle despite pleas from the Tea Party.
While I’m on the subject of Congress, it’s been almost three months since the Republicans took control of the House. Despite their criticism of the Democrats not focusing enough on job creation, so far it appears that all of the bills proposed in the House are focused on turning the clock back to the Bush years by trying to repeal legislation and proposing legislation designed to appease social conservatives that has minuscule to zero cost savings and doesn’t stand a chance of getting enacted into law.
Jupiter opposing Saturn for the third and final time Monday reflects the vast philosophical and political difference that must be overcome in order for Republicans and Democrats to reach agreement on the budget. Republicans have done nothing but criticize Democrats and now comes the difficult part when they have to start unveiling their proposals. Holding hearings to examine legislation they want to repeal or to go after groups they believe are more aligned with Democrats could end up backfiring on them.
Take the healthcare legislation (Pluto rules insurance) that Republicans like to call “Obamacare.” CBO Director Elmendorf will testify Wednesday morning at a House hearing on the law’s effect on the budget and jobs. A Bloomberg analysis concludes that Republican alternatives to replace "Obamacare" would save less than $5 billion or 0.6% a year. That helps explain why Republicans are focused more on repeal rather than replace. On Friday the House Ways & Means Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing on AARP’s organizational structure and finances which is a bit bizarre as this could affect the Republicans “free market” friend United Healthcare (UNH) who insures AARP’s Medigap and Medicare Advantage policies which AARP receives royalties from. (According to The Hill, total royalties from Medigap, Medicare Advantage, and other insurance products account for 57%+ of AARP’s $1.14 billion 2008 revenue or $653 million vs. $249 million from memberships.)
Pluto rules mortgages, and 9 out of 10 of them are either owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) who arrived at the subprime party much later than Wall Street. Fannie and Freddie would actually be profitable now if they weren’t required to pay a 10% dividend on preferred shares owned by the government. (In other words, Fan & Fred have to borrow from the government to repay the government a dividend instituted when the GSEs were taken into Conservatorship when Pluto turned direct September 8, 2008.) The House Financial Services subcommittee will be holding a hearing Thursday on the “ongoing bailout.” Although there are various plans about what to do about the GSEs, both parties seem to agree on the ultimate goal that if Fan & Fred are to continue to guarantee mortgages there must at least enough fees levied on mortgages to cover the risk.
Speaking of mortgages, FINREG (Dodd-Frank bill) requires that securitizers maintain at least 5% of the credit risk to have “skin in the game.” Wall St. will be eager to know what qualifies as a “safe” mortgage and therefore exempt from the risk retention requirement. Since Pluto rules death, wills and legacies are also part of Pluto’s domain. As part of the Dodd-Frank bill, the FDIC is expected to issue a proposal this week giving guidelines for large banks and other institutions deemed a systemic risk to draw up living wills.
Venus (money/banking; love) entered Pisces Sunday morning until April 21 which helps us to have love and compassion for ourselves and for others. At the other end of the spectrum, Venus in Pisces can bring out of the closet more cases of insider trading, scams, scandals, and credit card fraud.
Jupiter opposite Saturn can highlight imbalances in the global supply chain that prompts companies to manufacture at home or closer to home. Optimistic Jupiter in impatient Aries believes Japan can quickly recover from the earthquake/tsunami as if there wasn’t a nuclear problem. Slower and cautious Saturn indicates that things take time to have an impact in the supply chain that extends to the supplier's supplier.
The Moon (sentiment) in Uranus-ruled Aquarius Monday through late Wednesday afternoon increases the potential for unexpected events that can bring choppy trading and reversals.
Mercury turning retrograde Wednesday afternoon as the Moon conjoins Neptune at the end of Aquarius can create confusion regarding what’s really going on as communications coming out now could “cloud” the real issue. Remember to put the re prefix in front of everything you do. There will be a definite energy shift during the retrograde cycle when Mars enters its home sign Aries Saturday. The Aries New Moon on April 3 is the time to take new action on existing issues. In the USA, Mercury turns retrograde in the sector of the chart that is Pluto’s natural domain which reinforces the Pluto themes I’ve described.
The Moon will be in Pisces Thursday and Friday which is April Fool’s Day. Be aware of trickery and deception. The employment report is likely to continue to show slow but steady improvement in jobs. Mercury retrograde could the report is more prone to major revisions.
Monday, March 28, 2011 Negative.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 Choppy/mixed to positive bias.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 Negative.
Thursday, March 31, 2011 Seesaws between negative and positive; mixed close.
Friday, April 1, 2011 Positive.
(1)A termed coined by Dane Rudhyar in “The Lunation Cycle.”
(2) Markets began to sharply reverse when Uranus turned retrograde July 5 as the first whiffs of another round of monetary stimulus began drifting into the atmosphere.
(3) A mathematical calculation that moves the planets forward in time as a method of prediction.