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Week Beginning February 22, 2010

Review and Preview

Raymond Merriman  World equity indices rallied most of last week, following their troughs (lows) of the week before. However, the rallies weren’t large enough to confirm the lows of February 5-9 as primary or greater cycle troughs. On the other hand, if these rallies continue for two more weeks, then they will probably confirm the lows of early February as not just primary cycle bottoms, but even the 50-week cycle trough. Thus, stock indices are in a very important stage right now.

In Asia and the Pacific Rim, the rallies were quite mixed. In India’s Nifty and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, the rally from the prior week lasted until Wednesday, February 17. In Australia, the high of the week fell on last Thursday. In Japan, the Nikkei topped out Friday, but then it sold off somewhat sharply to close near the low of the week, following the announcement of the increase in the Fed discount rate.

In Europe, the stock market was bullish all week. Each of the four major indices we track topped out on Friday, February 19.

In the Americas, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ Composite, and Bovespa of Brazil all made their weekly highs on Friday. The Merval of Argentina made its weekly high of Thursday. There is nothing yet to indicate that the rally in any of these markets is completed. In fact, the translation of Venus and the Sun over the former Jupiter-Neptune conjunction remains in force through this week. As discussed before, these translations are in effect February 8-28.

Crude Oil has rallied in concert with stocks. The prior week found Crude prices down to 69.50. Last week saw prices back up to 79.95. Gold and Silver also rebounded from their lows of the prior week. In Gold, the high of the week was realized on Wednesday, but Silver continued higher in to Friday. However, currencies did not fare too well against the Dollar. The Euro currency, for instance, traded below 1.3500 during the day on Friday. This is most unusual, for precious metals and currencies tend to move together. But now, we see them decoupling. Gold and Silver are moving up against all currencies, which suggest something may be developing on the geopolitical front that is causing investors of all nations to demand more Gold and Silver. Maybe that something has to do with the progress of nuclear development in Iran.

Short-Term Geocosmics

The movement up in stock indices last week was not unexpected according to the principles of Financial Astrology. As discussed previously, the geocosmic signatures of February are quite benign, with first Venus, and the Sun, forming conjunctions to Neptune and Jupiter. The last of these “soft” aspects will happen next week, as the Sun will form its annual conjunction to Jupiter on February 28. Three days later, on March 3, Venus will form a conjunction to Uranus, which is more powerful in terms of stock market correlations. In fact, Venus and the Sun will both now start a translation to the Saturn-Uranus opposition. These translations will be in effect March 3-21. If we add the square to Pluto into the mix, it will last through March 25. One would anticipate that the period from March 3-25 will be entirely different in focus and market performance than February 8-28. The February period was benign, while the March time band may be much more intense and worrisome. After all, February highlighted the exuberant and hopeful Jupiter-Neptune dynamic. The March period will highlight the Saturn-Uranus-Pluto dynamic, which instead of being hopeful, has a stronger association with matters like debt, taxes, and “the unexpected.” In the context of “the unexpected,” there may be a slew of incidents involving nature, like high winds, electrical storms, and even earthquakes or volcano eruptions. It will mark the most powerful combination of geocosmic signatures in effect so far this New Year.

Longer-Term Thoughts

I received some mail last week about my column in support of the Federal Reserve Board. It isn’t so much that I support the FRB as I support the leadership of Ben Bernanke. It really doesn’t matter so much (to me) which entity controls our nation’s money, as it does the integrity and honesty of the individual in charge of that role. But it is hard for me to conceive that anyone who is under the control of elected officials (White House or Congress) can be free from an inherent conflict of interest to the American people. Elected officials will tend to make decisions – or demand the Central Bank make decisions — that will enhance their chances of re-election, which may not always be in the long-term best interest of the nation and its economy. For instance, it is seldom popular to raise interest rates, and very few politicians would go on record to support an increase in interest rates.

Yet, every time the economy comes under pressure, politicians are quick to point the finger at the Central Bank. The Federal Reserve Board was blamed by many politicians for the financial panic in September 2008 because it oversaw a very soft and accommodative monetary policy in the middle years of this decade. Yet it could just as easily be argued that it was the lax regulatory policies of the government itself over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that allowed for such risks to be taken b y banks, causing so many people to enter into mortgages they could not afford.

It is important to bring these issues up now, because the geocosmic signatures of next month – and even into early 2011 – suggest these themes are about to explode again. The Federal Reserve Board can only control the dangers that they can foresee. The problem is that crises in banking occur where no one expects it to happen (well, afterwards, of course, everyone claims they saw it). But we know that Pluto in Capricorn — especially in the waning phase of the Saturn-Pluto cycle – pertains to financial crises related to out-of-control spending and hence debt explosions. Things can look rosy temporarily, but in fact spending and debt levels are not going down, and debt related problems will continually rise again to confront bankers and politicians alike. I suspect we will see this in March when 1) Mars goes direct, and 2) Venus and the Sun will translate the Saturn-Uranus-Pluto T-square.

Mars retrograde is very interesting in terms of military actions too. In the past week, the USA has launched its new Afghan military initiative in the southern part of that country. The initial reports are very encouraging, which is what one would expect under the transit of the Sun and Venus to Neptune and Jupiter. As mentioned in a recent column, Barack Obama will stage a comeback in popularity during February, and he has. But Mars is retrograde, and usually this means that the aggressor will encounter more resistance and difficulties than anticipated. It will be with great interest that we watch the developments in Afghanistan when the transits to Jupiter and Neptune end, and the translations to Saturn-Uranus-Pluto begin, with Mars retrograde and about to go stationary direct (March 10). I think at that time we will begin to see if the new surge in Afghanistan is really a success, or on course to becoming another Viet Nam-like situation. We may see whether President Obama really is an effective commander in chief too. Right now it is hard to call. The start of the new military campaign started under a new moon and favorable fast-moving transits, which are positive. But it also started under the slower moving Mars retrograde, which to an astrologer is usually not the best time to launch a new war effort. It is a better signature to launch a peace initiative, and if there is one thing I would suggest to President Obama at this time, it would be to call together a summit of world leaders who truly want to end the threat of terrorism – who would form a powerful coalition against terrorism and sponsors of terrorist activities with the goal towards world peace. He could do it, and in my opinion, this may be his true calling in life. But he can’t do it alone, he can’t do it via twitter or a teleprompter where he speaks in front of large groups of fans in contrived photo opportunities, and he can’t sit back waiting for others to invite him to their summits. He needs to initiate the call, organize the event, and bring the leaders together by personal invitation. In my opinion, he needs to do this within the window of opportunity while Uranus and Jupiter are still in Pisces, which is in effect off and on for only the next year. After that, it is “Aries time,” potentially a time of wars and major disputes – unless these matters are addressed and agreed to before then.

© 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.