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Week Beginning December 14, 2009

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Raymond Merriman Debt, fear, and hope. These are the three dynamics shown clearly in the heavens as we approach the end of 2009. Equity markets are in conflict over these three factors. The waning square of Saturn and Pluto coincides with the reality of excessive debt that still threatens to unravel the economies of both nations and individuals. Home foreclosures continue to mount in record numbers, as do small businesses going bankrupt. Countries like Iceland and then Dubai find it difficult to meet their financial obligation to bondholders. Greece, Spain, Italy and Ireland may be close behind, which could threaten the very survival of the European Union.

But there is hope too, as exemplified by the conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune approaching on December 21, and the presence of the Sun and Venus in the sign of Sagittarius, Jupiter’s home, through December 21. As we end the year, we see employment numbers starting to increase, and retail sales better than expected, at least in the United States.

The stock markets of the world behaved in accordance with these conflicting dynamics last week. Some markets were up from the previous weeks, some were down, but almost all were between the lows of November 27 and the highs of December 2. One exception was Japan, which soared to its highest level in six weeks last week. Another was India’s Nifty Index, which made a double to[p to its yearly high on Friday. Most markets seem to be gently lifting higher into next week’s new moon and Jupiter-Neptune conjunction.

Many other financial markets did not fare very well last week. Gold, for instance, fell from a high of 1227.50 on December 3, to a low of 1110 on Friday, December 11. Silver collapsed too, from a high of 1950 to a low of 1690 during the same time frame. Part of the reason for this was the rise in the U.S. Dollar against many currencies, including the Euro. As the Dollar gets stronger, the price of Gold and commodities go down. Crude Oil, for instance, broke below 70.00/barrel during the week, Crude has now declined several weeks after realizing its high of the year at 82.00 on October 21. As stated in last year’s Forecast Book, Crude Oil would complete a 24-month cycle trough in very late 2008 or early 2009, followed by a 30.00-60.00 rally to a crest in May-December 2009. Crude Oil made a triple bottom between 32.40 on December 19, 2008 and 33.55 on February 12, 2009.

Short-Term Geocosmics

The heart of a powerful time band of geocosmic signatures is approaching at the end of this week. Monday begins a translation of the Sun to the Saturn-Uranus opposition. The Sun will square Uranus on Monday, December 14 and the translation ends when the Sun squares Saturn on December 25. Venus will then do the same type of translation, first with its square to Uranus on December 19 and then a square to Saturn on December 29. Trying to forecast mundane and financial market trends under such signatures is always a challenge, for Uranus rules the unexpected. In the case of the Sun and Venus in Sagittarius, one would expect optimism, and a sense that things will be OK, even favorable. In terms of holiday shopping, this would portend better sales than expected, for Sagittarius and its ruler Jupiter tends to be generous in gift-giving. But in terms of mundane and world events, these same signatures can coincide with sudden shocks. Saturn governs the principles of loss, restriction, and stress. Uranus has rulership over events like earthquakes and unexpected and disturbing events. On top of that, Mars will turn retrograde next weekend, on December 20. This highlights the aggression principle of Mars at a time when the peace-loving principles of Jupiter and Neptune are also in play. An ironic symbolism of these conflicting principles was President Barack Obama receiving the Nobel Peace prize on Thursday, within days of committing 30,000 new troops to fight in the Afghan war. These two signatures symbolize War and Peace. In essence, Obama committed the United States to fighting for peace.

Longer-Term Thoughts

It’s Pluto. It’s like an addiction. They just can’t stop spending. They can’t and won’t pay down their debt, despite the promise that they would when they took the money.

It’s Uranus. It’s crazy and irrational. They rationalize that the only way to come out of this difficult economic climate of high unemployment is to spend more money to create new federal programs that will hopefully result in new jobs. But it is not in the government sector that you want to see new jobs created. A larger government work force is not going to lead to a sustainable economic recovery, while the private work force continues to shrink and go out of business.

It’s Saturn. It’s the government, making decisions on behalf of the people, for the benefit of the people, without the full support of the people. The majority of people want the government to reduce the national deficit, and not increase it with new government-run and financed programs. But they don’t listen. Perhaps they need to create a national hearing aid program.

During the banking crisis of late 2008, as Saturn was approaching its first of five oppositions to Uranus, the White House and Treasury frightened the public with admonitions that $700 billion was immediately needed in order to prevent a second Great Depression. The idea was that taxpayers’ money would be used to bail out troubled financial institutions, and once the crisis was over, those banks would pay back these emergency “bail out” loans.

Fast forward to early November 2009. It turns out that the full $700 billion was not needed after all. The alarm was over-estimated by about 100%. $341 billion had not been spent. The White House announced on November 11 they will use these remaining funds to cut the deficit. Then days later, the banks started announcing they too would pay back those loans they received. Oh happy day! The TARP (Toxic Asset Relief Program) did its job and the bailout money will be repaid! The U,S. deficit will be reduced greatly and the government can get close to a balanced budget with all this repayment and unused money.

But now, one month later, Congress is changing its mind. Instead of giving the excess TARP funds back to reduce the nation’s deficit, and instead of taking the payments received from the loans and paying down the deficit as agreed at the time it was taken from taxpayers, Congress is instead proposing a huge new spending bill with this money — and more – “… that will increase the deficit while giving domestic programs their third major boost this year – and awarding lawmakers with more than 5,000 back home projects,” according to the Associate Press on December 11. Is it no wonder that a recent Rasmussen Poll showed that more Americans consider used car salesmen more ethical than members of Congress?

The answer to reducing the huge debt that threatens to inhibit job growth and a sustainable economic recovery, is not to increase debt. That’s irrational “Uranus thinking” at its worst. It is to reduce spending and using excess monies to actually pay down that debt, which is the constructive message of Saturn square Pluto. Saturn is the sense of “not enough,” the sense of “lack of” and the acceptance of the sacrifices necessary to bring matters back under control. Failure to adhere to this lesson of Saturn and Pluto is simply going to make the pain worse, not better. Yes, there is a need to create new jobs and get people back to work and paying their share of taxes to increase the nation’s revenues. And the way to do that is to pay down the debt so the government isn’t forced to borrow even more monies in the future and/or compelled to raise taxes on the engine that creates the most sustainable jobs — small businesses.

It’s not too late to get it right. It’s not too late to make an honorable (Saturn) decision to pay the money back as promised. Otherwise, who is ever going to trust your word again? And what is a government without the trust of its own people?

© Raymond A. Merriman


Disclaimer and statement of purpose: The purpose of this column is not to predict the future movement of various financial markets. However, that is the purpose of the MMA (Merriman Market Analyst) subscription services. This column is not a subscription service. It is a free service, except in those cases where a fee may be assessed to cover the cost of translating this column from English into a non-English language. This weekly report is written with the intent to educate the reader on the relationship between astrological factors and collective human activities as they are happening. In this regard, this report will oftentimes report what happened in various stock and financial markets throughout the world in the past week, and discuss that movement in light of the geocosmic signatures that were in effect. It will then identify the geocosmic factors that will be in effect in the next week, or even month, or even years, and the author’s understanding of how these signatures will likely affect human activity in the times to come. The author (Merriman) will do this from a perspective of a cycle’s analyst looking at the military, political, economic, and even financial markets of the world. It is possible that some forecasts will be made based on these factors. However, the primary goal is to both educate and alert the reader as to the psychological climate we are in, from an astrological perspective. The hope is that it will help the reader understand these psychological dynamics that underlie (or coincide with) the news events and hence financial markets of the day.

No guarantee as to the accuracy of this report is being made here. Any decisions in financial markets are solely the responsibility of the reader, and neither the author nor the publishers assume any responsibility at all for those individual decisions. Reader should understand that futures and options trading are considered high risk.