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REVIEW AND PREVIEW
The U.S. economy remains strong, but dangers are brewing ahead, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told a Senate committee Tuesday. “While we view current economic conditions as healthy and the economic outlook as favorable, over the past few months we have seen some crosscurrents and conflicting signals,” Powell said in his prepared remarks to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. “Financial markets became more volatile toward year-end, and financial conditions are now less supportive of growth than they were earlier last year.” China and Europe are particular areas of concern, and the Fed also is watching how Brexit negotiations and trade talks play out. – Jeff Cox, “Powell Warns of Headwinds, Says Fed is Prepared to Adjust on Balance Sheet Unwind if Necessary,” https://www.cnbc.com, February 26, 2019.
But in Europe, where trade tensions between the U.S. and EU countries have been rising, the risks from U.S. trade policy are becoming more prominent. U.S. trade policy was the No. 1 external risk factor cited by CFOs from the Europe, Middle East and Africa region taking the survey, with 35 percent saying it was the biggest current threat to their business. That was higher than the percentage of CFOs from the Asia-Pacific region citing trade policy as the biggest external risk (29 percent). Only 17 percent of North America-based CFOs cited trade policy — concern about consumer demand was cited by many more CFOs from the U.S. (43 percent). – Eric Rosenbaum, “Trade Policy Now Biggest Issue in Europe,” https://www.cnbc.com, March 1, 2019.
… the success of trade taxes (tariffs) to date was shown by the December US trade deficit hitting a record high. – UBS Morning Audio Comment, Paul Donovan, March 1, 2019.
It is my self-assigned duty to report current instances where the Jupiter/Neptune square (delusion, hyperbole, grandiosity, exaggeration) seem apparent in current economic and financial market news, and may have the corresponding effect of falsely influencing investors’ perceptions of reality. For instance, equity markets may be going up on the perception that progress is being made on trade issues, when in fact, it may be just the opposite, or, it may be improving in one area (Asia) but not in others (Europe). Or, if I were a cynic, I might notice that relations for future trade deals appear to be improving most in areas where the prospects are greatest for a certain company’s brand, perhaps after 2020.
Nevertheless, most world equity markets continued to advance to their highest levels of 2019 last week. In Europe, the German DAX index, which had been the weakest of the European indices, led the march forward, rising sharply to 11,676 on Friday. The Netherlands AEX and Zurich SMI indices posted new highs for the new year on February 27. The story was different in England where the FTSE fell to its lowest level in 18 days on March 1. The Brexit proceedings are not proceeding well, and neither party is able to find a win-win situation. Instead, both sides continue to lumber toward a lose-lose resolution. This is not surprising, given that Brexit passed under a retrograde Mars in 2016 — in Scorpio, no less. Mars direct means things get started and move forward, often quickly. Mars retrograde implies that things started don’t get moving forward too fast. Matters started under Mars retrograde often go backwards more quickly than they go forward. In the case of Brexit, progress is more like a constant regress.
In Asia and the Far East, new highs for 2019 were noted on Friday in both the Japanese Nikkei and Australian ASX indices. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and China’s Shanghai Composite posted new highs on February 27, and nearly match those on the close of Friday, March 1. India’s Nifty was weaker, moving more sideways than up or down.
The Americas were a tale of two continents. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NASDAQ Composite both posted new highs for 2019 last week, but the Bovespa of Brazil and Merval of Argentina fell to new multi-week lows late last week.
It wasn’t a good week for precious metals. Gold and Silver both fell to new multi-week lows on Friday, with Gold falling below $1300. Crude Oil and Live Cattle, however, soared to new highs for this year. In the case of Live Cattle, prices continued their torrid pace upwards that started when Uranus first moved into Taurus last May 2018. That same cosmic event returns again this week, March 6. The symbol for Taurus is the bull. Given that Uranus pertains to “boom and bust” in financial markets ruled by the sign it is in, it is no wonder that Cattle prices have been soaring since May 2018, as depicted in both the Forecast 2018 and 2019 books.
SHORT-TERM GEOCOSMICS AND LONGER-TERM THOUGHTS
Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says she doubts that President Donald Trump has a good grasp of economic policy or even knows the Federal Reserve's mandates. "I doubt that he would even be able to say that the Fed's goals are maximum employment and price stability," Yellen said in an interview with radio program "Marketplace. “She said comments like that show a "lack of understanding of the impact of the Fed on the economy and appropriate policy goals." Asked in the interview released Monday if she felt Trump had a grasp of macroeconomic policy, Yellen said, "No I do not." – Martin Crutsinger, “Yellen Critical of Trump’s Grasp of Economic Policy,” Associated Press (AP), February 26, 2019.
Janet L. Yellen was the most qualified Federal Reserve chair we’ve ever had and maybe the most successful Federal Reserve chair we’ve ever had. But, in part because she was also the shortest Federal Reserve chair we’ve ever had, she wasn’t reappointed by President Trump…. Trump, according to The Washington Post, seems to believe that the Fed is a lot like a roller coaster: You have to be so tall to go on it. In particular, he thought that the 5-foot-3-inch Yellen was too short to do the job that she’d been doing so well the previous four years… You might say this was the height of a bad decision. - Matt O’Brien, “Trump Thought Yellen was too Short to be Fed Chair: That’s Not How Any of this Works,” Washington Post, December 3, 2018.
This should be a most interesting week from the cosmic perspective. It actually started on Friday, March 1, with Venus (money and love) forming a waning square to Uranus (the unexpected, volatility, disruptions, and sudden changes). By itself this signature has a strong correlation to reversals in many financial markets, such as stock indices, within 4 trading days.
On Tuesday, March 5, Mercury will begin its three-week retrograde motion in Pisces, which should be a peculiar period, for the “Trickster” will conjoin Neptune three times while in Pisces. Mercury rules data, like information and communication. Neptune and Pisces rule inspiration. But in Pisces, Mercury is debilitated, so the effort to communicate information comes out more like an attempt at inspiration, or a sermon, with little basis in fact or reality. The result can be confusion, or news that is released as fact only to be disputed quickly as not-fact, and in fact, it comes across as misleading and contradictory. Think the after-meeting reports of the Trump-Kim summit last week. And that is just a preview of what to expect the next 3-4 weeks. In other words, it’s another case of who do you believe? Truth is rather elusive during this month.
It doesn’t get any clearer this week when the new Moon in Pisces takes place on March 6, conjunct Neptune, the day after Mercury starts its retrograde motion in Pisces. This is a period when everyone would be well-advised to think first before speaking, and then after speaking, checking to make sure the other person understood what you meant (and vice-versa). Did you really mean to tell your broker to “buy” when you meant “sell?” Did you really mean to tell your secretary (or boss) “I love you,” when you thought you had called your mother? Maybe you did, but didn’t know it consciously, for Neptune and Pisces have a lot to do with the unconscious. They both rule sleep. With Mercury involved, there might be a lot of sleep-walking and sweet-talking during sleep. This might be a good time to sleep alone, lest you implicate yourself unintentionally.
But don’t sleep during market hours if you are a trader, for Uranus is also active this week, and with Uranus, prices can change fast and furiously. That goes double with Mercury turning retrograde. You know the Trickster can change his mind on a dime, and if you hesitate, the opportunity is lost. The rules and boundaries get blurred with all this Neptune and Pisces and Mercury retrograde. However, it is a very good time for intuition, which is a little like inspiration, but not so reliable for information. So, don’t follow the instructions of others (they will only confuse you), but rather trust your own gut when deciding what is right and what is wrong - for you.
As far as trading is concerned this week, rewards are there for those who can act quickly and decisively. Price swings may be huge, but the opportunity to capture them will likely last seconds, not minutes. And the idea of thinking you will have hours to decide on a trade is probably a wishful fantasy. Which, come to think of it, is another way to describe the current cosmic picture and its message. Enjoy the pictures. Ignore the text.