MMA Comments for the Week Beginning August 29, 2011
Written by Raymond Merriman
Review and Preview
Last week's market behavior was typical of the end of a Mercury retrograde time band. That is, market participants aren't sure what to do as a slew of contradictory signals from both the political and economic community leave investors scratching their heads and wondering: "What next?" Will there be more surprise announcements regarding ailing European banks? Will there be a double dip recession in the USA, or is the economic outlook as favorable as Fed Chair Ben Bernanke implied in Friday's announcement at the gathering of Central Bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming? Will there be a third round of quantitative easing as many believe or are pleading for, despite Bernanke's non-confirmation of such a consideration before the Feds next policy meeting in late September? Unfortunately, the end of Mercury retrograde has simply resulted in a lot more questions than answers. As a result, equity prices were down early in the week, but not below the lows of August 9. Then they rallied, fell, and rallied again, but not above the highs of the prior week in the USA, but different patterns followed in different parts of the world.
Gold was spectacular last week. First it soared to a new all-time high of $1917.90 in the December contract on Tuesday, August 23. Two days later it dropped to 1705.40, a loss of over $200 in just two days! But then on Friday, the very next day, it was trading back above $1800. Now that's a lot of volatility in just 4 days. But none of the other markets we track were nearly as volatile. To the contrary, they were considerably less volatile than they were in the beginning of this Mercury retrograde period (August 3-26), which is more the norm for this trickster.
Short-Term GeocosmicsMost of the world's stock indices made a secondary bottom on Friday, August 19 or Monday, August 22, to their prior lows of August 9. This fits with the fact that Venus and the Sun were both in opposition to Neptune on August 21-22. The Sun-Neptune opposition is the only Level 1 geocosmic signature present in the current heavily populated time band of geocosmic signatures extending form August 21 through September 2. The oppositions to Neptune highlighted the principles of this far-out planet last week. There were rumors. Rumors first swirled in Libya and Gaddafi's son (Saif al-islam) had been captured. But then he appeared out of nowhere in Tripoli to lead journalists on a tour of the city, thereby casting doubt of the rebels' credibility that they had captured him and the city would fall. Then there was the case of Col. Gaddafi himself. No one knows where he is, but he keeps giving orders to the loyalists. Disappearance is another Neptune quality. Did I mention that all the leaders in Washington have disappeared too in the past week? Disappearing world leaders is big news under Neptune. This week, starting August 29, will be a pre-holiday week. The USA markets will be closed on Monday, September 5, in honor of Labor Day. A pre-holiday week is about as reliable as Mercury retrograde when it comes to technical studies. That is, they are not reliable at all. Markets can do almost anything given that volume is likely to decline sharply as the week progresses. Still, there are some interesting geocosmic signatures coming up. First there is a new moon on Monday, August 29. This is followed by Jupiter turning retrograde, and forming a favorable trine to Venus on Tuesday, August 30. On Friday, September 2, the Sun will also form a favorable trine to Jupiter. Thus we may conclude that next week will be very "Jupiterian" in nature. At its best, Jupiter is optimistic, hopeful, and relates to rising prices. At its worst, it can be exaggerative and hysterical, coinciding with sharply following prices and then a reversal. I would opt to form a trading plan based on the more optimistic manifestation this week.
Longer Term ThoughtsI was thinking the other day (yes, I know that conveys a frightening image). I was thinking about Texas Governor Rick Perry's speech in which he labeled Ben Bernanke's Federal Reserve Board policies "almost treasonous." A thread has been going through my mind over the last 2-3 years that postulates that the Fed's policy of 0% interest rates (fed funds rates) has been the greatest destroyer of the middle class in America than anything else, and far more than the so-called unfair "Bush Tax Cuts." Not that this was the intention, mind you, but rather one of the "unintended consequences" of the Fed's and the USA government's radical decisions made in the past three years, and especially last year at this of the astrological peak of the Cardinal Climax when QE2 was chosen as the preferred course of action, rather than allowing rates to rise naturally. The idea goes like this: the Fed's 0-.25% interest rate policy since 2008 has eliminated a lot of wealth and savings from the U.S.A. middle class, which in turn has had a direct negative impact upon our government's ability to raise sufficient revenues to cover its basic costs, let alone the "over-the-top" spending programs it wants to pursue. The Fed's interest rate policy has had a far more negative effect on the country's balance sheet, as well as the class warfare divisions widening in this country – and even the entire world - between the "haves" and "have nots," than anything remotely connected to the Bush Tax Cuts, which gets a lot of the blame for that division. First of all, in defense of the Bush tax cuts – which is hard for me to do because it is one of the very few things President Bush did that I can defend. At the time these tax cuts were implemented (there were two: one in 2001 and the other in 2003), the U.S.A.'s unemployment rate was rising, and peaked at 6.4% (June 2003). During the following 4-6 years (2001 or 2003, through 2007), unemployment fell to the mid 4's% (4.4% in March 2007), a decline of over 30% following those cuts. That's a positive and that is a fact. The tax rates were lowered, but the country's tax revenues soared to new all-time highs every year from 2005 through 2007 (three consecutive years). And 2008 was the second highest year of tax revenues ever, although it was down slightly from the all-time high of 2007. The tax revenues then fell substantially in 2009 and 2010, down about 16% from 2007 and 2008, and they will be flat-lining around the same level in 2011. The Bush tax cuts did not lead to higher unemployment nor did it lead to lower tax revenues for the country, as inferred by many proponents of tax increases today. I am sorry, but it is a bogus political argument, in my opinion. On the other hand, the Federal Reserve Board's 0-.25% interest rate policy has led to a far greater imbalance in the personal finances of "the common man," versus Wall Street and the banking community, than the Bush tax cuts. In fact, I believe this Fed interest rate policy has been the single greatest source of lost revenues for the government itself. Given that the waning phase of the Saturn-Pluto cycle is consistent with the cry for more taxes – especially of "the wealthy" – and given that the transit of Uranus and Pluto has been making a "hard aspect" to the Sun-Pluto opposition in the Federal Reserve Board chart (born December 23, 1913), there may be a connection here that has been successfully diverted by (or from) the media, and hence the public. Consider this: the average American – the "common man" – is brought up to believe that if he works hard and saves his money (or invests it in land or a house), he will do fairly well in life. The midsection of Americans consists of millions of hard workers (or at least it used to) and they tended to save a good portion of their earnings and/or invest in land or real estate, consistent with this country's natal Sun in Cancer, square Saturn. By the time they retired, they had a "nest egg" to live on, in many cases via the income made from their savings, pensions, and/or retirement accounts. The key vehicle here is "savings." Now when you consider that those retirement accounts, savings accounts, CD's and T-Bills were generating about 5% or higher annual returns for several consecutive years as recently as 2007, and today they generate but .1-.3%, you can see an enormous difference on "interest income" earned by this mid-section (middle class) of Americans. Let's assume this middle class American worker had saved, say, $200,000 (a good average sum of savings for many who have retired in the past 30 years, according to my personal experience working with retail accounts for the Wall Street firms in another lifetime). In 2007, with a $200,000 savings account, an additional income of $10,000 per annum was being generated. Combined with social security and any other retirement plans, this person could expect to generate $30,000-60,000/year, and not have to touch his capital. Now flash forward to early 2008 through today. That same savings account, or CD, or T-Bill, is generating about .1-.3%. Even a 10-year T-Notes was generating less than 2% this month! But back to the point - the "common man" who is being eliminated as a social force in society. Now his $200,000 savings account generates only about $200.00/year. Compared to an annual interest income of $10,000 before, that's a loss of $9800 in additional annual income. And he now has to draw down his principle to make up the difference which results in even less interest income each year (less than $200). Now lest you think it is only the poor "common man" who suffers, you are sadly mistaken. It is a double whammy because the government – the government of the "common man" - is also being harmed (perhaps unintentionally) by this policy, and doesn't seem to have a clue. Well, maybe Governor Perry has a clue, and I liked to hear more about his thinking on why the Fed and Bernanke are "almost treasonous." Its loss of revenues is a combination of higher unemployment (can't tax people who don't work) and 98% less "interest income" to tax. That's a whole lot of lost revenues, like maybe the 16% fall-off from the 2007-2008 record revenues. Because, you see, interest income is taxable income. Instead of paying 28-33% taxes on that $10,000/year, they now only pay maybe 25% taxes on only $200.00 interest income. The Federal government has lost a huge chunk of its revenue from a huge chunk of society that is about to become an endangered species, directly (I believe) as a result of the Fed's zero-interest rate tolerance policy, which has been perpetrated as a "rescue" for the American economy. Wrong! The USA government may soon be an endangered species as well if this "lost revenue" stream continues with these policies isn't recovered. The idea that "taxing the wealthy" will substantially increase the government's coffers is pittance compared to what could be gained if American savers were generating 5% interest income again, and that was to be taxed at today's current rate. The point is, these low Fed funds and related interest rates have probably caused far more damage to the economy because they have acted as an "anti-stimulus" policy, at a time when they have been incorrectly (and I hope unintentionally) touted as "monetary stimulus" policies. Stimulus for who? Not for savers, Maybe for speculators in Chicago and New York. This policy has taken money out of the breadbasket of America. It has virtually eliminated interest income for savers, which is so necessary to consumer spending, which could bring back demand for products and services if they had that income back, which in turn would lead to hiring, which would result in more revenues for the government through more working people paying taxes, – not to mention the taxes on interest income that would go up nearly 50-fold. Who has really benefitted from the zero% interest policy? The bankers of course (the Federal Reserve Board is, after all, a consortium of bankers seeking to protect their banks) and Wall Street (Financial and investment bankers). Main Street, the "common man" and the U.S. government have not benefitted at all. In fact, each has lost "big time" from this policy. The claim is that this is good for the ailing housing industry, but are there any signs of that being the case with so many people stuck in houses with little or even negative equity? And it is harder than ever to get mortgages or refinancing today at these advertised low "monetary stimulus" rates. True, house payments have gone down when property taxes are taken into account. But not anything close to the 98% less of interest income that has occurred at the same time. But that monetary stimulus is like a narcotic. When you are in battle and you are severely wounded, the medic will give you morphine (use to be heroine) to help you deal with the pain. You might need this narcotic "pain killer" over several days, so your body will sleep and start to heal itself. But if you don't stop it as soon as the body starts to heal, you will develop a dependency upon that narcotic. It – not the wound – needs to be fed now just to keep afloat. If you stay with the pain killer for too long, it becomes an addiction. You will suffer – go into withdrawals – the moment it is taken away. You cannot cure the sickness and addiction without going through the withdrawal symptoms. There is no pain-free way to break an addiction. It's hard work, requiring discipline, focus, and a commitment to get through. If you stay with the program, your life comes back. But usually the suffering from withdrawal is so difficult that you need another hit of that pain killer, and the addiction starts right back up. You end up leading a life that is never wholly functional, with less energy and joy than would otherwise be the case. The Fed will never be able to find a "pain free" way, by itself, to change this policy which was needed in the beginning but has now become like a narcotic dependency after nearly 4 years and is in fact destroying the middle class and is indirectly the most responsible policy for the widening of the division between classes – the "haves" versus the "have nots," and this growing resentment of people who have wealth. And even the government – along with the masses - has joined this chorus, its attention completely diverted from the real cause. It's not Obama, it's not George W. Bush. It's not the Bush Tax Cuts for the "wealthy." It has more to do with the entity whose Sun-Pluto opposition (secrecy) and policies that has (perhaps unintentionally) sacrificed the American "Common Man" for the salvation of the "Banker." There is much more to this story, but I will end it here. Did I mention that between 2012 and 2015, the 126-year Uranus-Pluto cycle will be in a square aspect seven times? And that transiting square will make a grand square to the USA natal Sun (leadership) and Saturn (government)? It doesn't have to be negative, but if the financial and banking world continue along this path, this could become a signature that manifests as a major uprising by – guess who? – the "common man," who finally figures out how he has been hoodwinked to give up a vital part of his income in order to support the salvation of the banks, who in turn refuse to create programs to help him take advantage of the Fed's so-called "easy money." How do you get out of it? How do you break an addiction sensibly? By gradual withdrawal. Gradually getting back to an interest rate policy that rewards savers and the USA government – the heart of America – instead of just banks and speculators. Like many of you, I want to believe in a future of social and economic growth for all current and future citizens of this country, of this world.
It's that time of the year again! As in the past, MMA offers a special pre-publication discount rate for those who pre-order the next year's book before October 15, 2011. The special rate for ordering before October 15 is $45.00 plus postage. After that it will increase to $55.00, its normal price. The annual Forecasts Book, written by Raymond A. Merriman since 1976, is one of the most unique, affordable, and accurate glimpses into the coming year. Utilizing the study of cycles and geocosmic factors, this annual Forecasts book outlines forthcoming trends pertaining to political, economic, and financial markets throughout the world. Although 2011 is only a little more than half over, several forecasts made in the 2011 book have already unfolded. For a list of some of these forecasts, please go to the front page of our web site at www.mmacycles.com. There you can also place your order for the Forecast 2012 Book at the special pre-publication rate now in effect through October 15. Save Big Bucks and Order Now!!!
"The Ultimate Book on Stock Market Timing, Volume 5: Price Objectives and Technical Analysis," will end this week (August 20) is scheduled for release on the new moon in Libra, September 27. It is always a surreal feeling when I complete a book of this size (over 300 pages). Like every market analyst who writes a book, I think this is the greatest one ever written. Did I ever disclose that I have Mercury in Sagittarius? Well, it is true. I am very pleased with this book and I think it is the one book that you will truly get your money's worth from purchasing, even if you know nothing about geocosmic studies (its primarily about technical; analysis and price objectives). It's a book describing the tools that serious traders use. It identifies the formulas that they use to calculate price targets, and the trading plans that work using market timing and technical indicators. This book is like the market itself: it is packed with powerful tools (signals), and if you take the time to learn these tools properly, your chances of being a successful trader will increase tremendously. The book is 302 pages, printed in perfect bind format, gloss cover, 8-1/2" x 11" size. The retail price of this new book is $144.00.
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If you are an active short-term trader, you may be interested in our Weekly or even Daily Market reports with short-term trading recommendations. It is the only way I keep in touch with traders on a daily or even weekly basis, as I no longer offer personal consultations. These reports give in-depth analysis of the DJIA, S&P and NASDAQ futures, Euro currency (cash and futures), Swiss Franc, Dollar/Yen cash and Yen futures, Euro-Yen cash, T-Notes, Soybeans, Crude Oil, Gold and Silver. The daily reports cover all stock indices listed above, as well as futures in Euro, T-Notes, Soybeans, Gold and Silver. Both reports provide trading strategies and recommendations for position traders as well as for shorter-term aggressive traders. Subscription to the daily report also includes the weekly report. For more information, go to http://www.mmacycles.com/services, or call our offices at1-248-626-3034. These reports are extremely valuable to those who trade ETF's (Exchange Traded Funds). In the words of one of our subscribers: "I recently subscribed to your weekly report and am finding it to be excellent and a very useful companion to the MMA Cycles Report. I can't imagine now managing my investments without them."
January 6-7, 2012: Zurich Switzerland. Forecast 2012 Symposia sponsored by AstroData. Details to be announced shortly at www.mma-europe.ch.
January 18, 2012: Amsterdam, Netherlands. "Forecast 2012." The date is not yet finalized, but will be shortly, and it will be around this date.
February 23 and 25: Hong Kong, China. "Forecast 2012" on Thursday, February 23, and a workshop on "Financial Market Timing" on Saturday, February 25.
March 9-11, 2012: The 8th Annual Balkan International Conference, Belgrade, Serbia. Featuring a workshop on Financial Astrology with Raymond Merriman.
April 19 and 21, Boulder, Colorado. "Forecast 2012" with Raymond Merriman, plus a workshop on "Financial Market Timing," focusing on equities and precious metals. Sponsored by ROMA. For more information and registration, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 24-29, 2012: UAC!!! The world's largest astrological conference. Taking place at the New Orleans Marriott Hotel. Go to www.uacastrology.com. There will be an awesome Financial Track, featuring some of the top Financial Astrologers and researchers in the world.
September 20-27, 2012: The first annual "MMA International Cycles Summit on World Economy, Politics, and Financial Markets." The final decision on whether or not to host this event will be made shortly, by September 20. The location was to be in Lake Bled, Slovenia, one of the most beautiful regions in the world.
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.
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