MMA FREE WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING JANUARY 30, 2023 ©

REVIEW AND PREVIEW 

The U.S. economy grew at a solid 2.9% annual rate last quarter but entered this year with less momentum as rising interest rates and still-high inflation weighed on demand. The October-to-December period capped a year of economic slowdown with growth of 1% in the fourth quarter of 2022 compared with a year earlier, down sharply from 5.7% growth in 2021. – Sarah Chaney Cambon “U.S. Economy Grows at Slower Pace,” Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2023.

The U.S. took action Thursday against Russian private military group Wagner Group, designating it as a significant transnational criminal organization over its actions in combat operations in Ukraine on behalf of President Vladimir Putin. – Mengqi Sun, “Wagner Group Designated by U.S. as Transnational Criminal Group,” Wall Street Journal, Jan 26, 2023.

Most world stock indices performed very well last week. Several made new highs for this year. Some even took out their highs of December, while others simply re-tested their highs made during the triple planetary stations of January 12-22. Thus, the test for the underlying primary trend continues to be a battle between the bulls and the bears. The bullish case is in need of taking out the highs of mid-December. The bearish case requires resistance in pushing back before that ceiling gives in. Continue reading…

MMA FREE WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING JANUARY 23, 2023 ©

REVIEW AND PREVIEW 

Retail spending fell in December at the sharpest pace of 2022, marking a dismal end to the holiday shopping season as rising interest rates, still-high inflation and concerns about a slowing economy pinched American consumers. Sales were also revised lower in November and have fallen three of the past four months. ­– Harriet Torry, “U.S. Retail Sales Fell 1.1% in December,” Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2023.

It was another very good week for Gold and Bitcoin. Each continued the rallies they began in October-November, near the time that Mars turned retrograde on October 31. All have rallied to their highest levels since then as Mars turned direct last week, along with Mercury. Continue reading…

MMA FREE WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING JANUARY 16, 2023 ©

REVIEW AND PREVIEW 

U.S. inflation eased in December for the sixth straight month following a mid-2022 peak as the Federal Reserve aggressively raised interest rates and the economy showed signs of cooling. The consumer-price index, a measurement of what consumers pay for goods and services, rose 6.5% last month from a year earlier, down from 7.1% in November and well below a 9.1% peak in June. –  Gwenn Guilford, “U.S. Inflation Slowed for Sixth Straight Month in December,” Wall Street Journal, Jan 12, 2023.

The federal government ran an $85 billion deficit in December, a wider shortfall than in the same month a year earlier, as the government’s debt burden nears its legal limit.  The federal deficit … widened by 12% in the first few months of the fiscal year that began in October as rising interest rates increase borrowing costs for the government. The government posted a record deficit for the month of November in 2022. The Treasury has spent $57 billion more, a 37% increase, on paying for the government’s debt so far this fiscal year than it did in the same period a year earlier, the largest source of higher government spending. The federal government is approaching the roughly $31.4 trillion limit on borrowing set by Congress. As of Tuesday, the government has borrowed roughly $31.3 trillion. – Andrew Duehren, “Federal Deficit Widened to $85 Billion in December,” Wall Street Journal, Jan 12, 2023.

In an act of gleeful revenge against all bearish pundits, Mars turning direct late last week coincided with strong rallies in several major world stock indices. The Trickster, Mercury retrograde, who is also on the loose through January 18, couldn’t be happier, because this may be his chance to enact another one of his famous fake outs. Continue reading…

MMA FREE WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING JANUARY 9, 2023 ©

REVIEW AND PREVIEW 

Payroll growth decelerated in December but was still better than expected, a sign that the labor market remains strong even as the Federal Reserve tries to slow economic growth. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 223,000 for the month, above the Dow Jones estimate for 200,000, while the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, 0.2 percentage point below the expectation. Wage growth was less than expected in an indication that inflation pressures could be weakening. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% for the month and increased 4.6% from a year ago. – Jeff Cox, Nonfarm Payrolls Rose 223,000 in December, as Strong Jobs Market Tops Expectations,” www.cnbc.com, January 6, 2023. 

As the first week of the new year ends, it appears the Trickster is well into his natural element of sudden short-term reversals. Stock indices looked pressured, but on Friday, the U.S. payroll reports came out weak, as was expected, but the gains in wages were considerably less than expected. On the news, investors saw little reason for the Fed to stay so hawkish on interest rates related to rising inflation, so the stock market took off with the DJIA closing up 700 points, and at its highest level since the Jupiter/Uranus semi-square low of December 22-23. Continue reading…

MMA FREE WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING JANUARY 2, 2023 ©

REVIEW AND PREVIEW 

That’s a wrap for 2022. Stocks closed out the year with a whimper. All three major indexes posted modest losses Friday, capping their worst year since 2008. The S&P 500 ended the year down 19%. “U.S. Stocks Close Out Worst Year Since 2008,” www.wsj.com, December 30, 2022. 

The Biden administration is planning to begin refilling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a senior administration official said Friday, marking the end to the massive supply releases that the White House ordered to tame the sharp price spikes earlier this year… The administration had announced in October it would set up a process to purchase oil from companies to refill the SPR at a price of $67 to $72 a barrel. – Ben Lefebvre, “Biden Administration Set to Start Refilling Oil Reserve,” Dec 16, 2022, www.politico.com. 

The level of the SPR — an emergency stockpile of crude oil managed by the Department of Energy (DOE) — declined to 375.1 million barrels last week, marking the first time it has fallen below 378 million barrels since December 1983, according to the Energy Information Administration. Prior to last week, the reserve’s lowest level since 1983 was recorded on Dec. 30, 1983, when it hit 378.3 million barrels. – Thomas Catenacci, “US Emergency Oil Stockpiles Drop to Lowest Level Since 1983,” Dec 28, 2022, www.foxbusiness.com.

We are back. And so is Mercury retrograde, otherwise known as “The Trickster.” Continue reading…

MMA FREE WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING DECEMBER 12, 2022 ©

REVIEW AND PREVIEW 

The Federal Reserve is likely to keep interest rates elevated through 2023, dashing Wall Street’s hopes for rate cuts in the second half of 2023 and almost guaranteeing a recession. – Megan Henney, “Fed To Keep Interest Rates High All Next year, Making a Recession Very Likely: Survey,” December 9, 2022, www.foxbusiness.com.

“When Donald Trump won in 2016, he said we were going to get so tired of winning we would ask him to stop winning so much,” Christie told a gathering of Republican governors, noting the party lost House seats in 2018, the White House in 2020 and winnable Senate races in 2022. “I’m tired of losing,” Christie added. – Brett Samuels, ”GOP Tired of Losing,” The Hill, November 18, 2022.

Last week’s financial markets were a tug of war between the aggressive symbolism of a full Moon conjunct Mars (it was even an occultation, a lunar eclipse of Mars) on December 7-8, caught between the passivity inclination of Neptune turning direct on December 3, squared by Venus on December 4, and squared by the Sun on December 14. In other words, markets wanted to do something – go somewhere – but they didn’t quite know what or where. Continue reading…

MMA FREE WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING DECEMBER 5, 2022 ©

REVIEW AND PREVIEW 

Job growth was much better than expected in November despite the Federal Reserve’s aggressive efforts to slow the labor market and tackle inflation. Nonfarm payrolls increased 263,000 for the month while the unemployment rate was 3.7%. In another blow to the Fed’s anti-inflation efforts, average hourly earnings jumped 0.6% for the month, double the Dow Jones estimate. Wages were up 5.1% on a year-over-year basis, also well above the 4.6% expectation. – Jeff Cox, “Payrolls and Wages Blow Past Expectations,” www.cnbc.com, December 2, 2022.

Yields on longer-term U.S. Treasurys have fallen further below those on short-term bonds than at any time in decades, a sign that investors think the Federal Reserve is close to winning its inflation battle regardless of the cost to economic activity. A scenario in which short-term yields exceed long-term yields is known on Wall Street as an inverted yield curve and is often seen as a red flag that a recession is looming. – Sam Goldfarb, “Treasury Yield Curve Inverts to Deepest Level Since 1981,” Wall Street Journal, November 30, 2022.

The holiday joy continued for world equity markets after Fed Chair Powell’s comments on Wednesday that rate hikes won’t end, but may ease the pace of their ascent. On that news, most of the world stock indices made new cycle highs on Thursday-Friday, December 1-2, and in some cases they exceeded the highs of their previous primary cycles made in mid-August. Continue reading…

MMA FREE WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING NOVEMBER 28, 2022 ©

REVIEW AND PREVIEW 

“Investor psychology remaining optimistic is driving the rally in this market,” said Eugene Profit, CEO at Profit Investments, said Tuesday on CNBC’s ‘Closing Bell Overtime.” – Carmen Reincke and Sarah Min, November 23, 2022, www.cnbc.com.

“It is now clear that QE Was a Colossal Policy Mistake.” – Judy Sheldon, in an article written by Allison Schrager on Bloomberg News, November 22, 2022.

It was a holiday week in the U.S., but the DJIA continued to rally to new multi-month highs, even exceeding its previous primary high of 34,282 made on August 16. This fits the expected pattern of several Jupiter transits that were in effect November 15-23. Continue reading…

MMA FREE WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING NOVEMBER 7, 2022 ©

REVIEW AND PREVIEW 

Employers added 261,000 nonfarm jobs, more than expected and in line with the previous month’s 263,000. The unemployment rate edged higher to 3.7%, up from 3.5% in September. Hourly pay remained brisk rising at 4.7% year over year, matching September. – “October’s Jobs Report Solid, Making Fed’s Inflation Fight Harder,” www.foxbusiness.com, November 4, 2022. 

“Since 1942, there have been 20 midterm elections… US stocks climbed higher in the next 12 months after every single one.” ­– Stephen McBride, Risk-Hedge Report, “Should You Sell Your Stocks Ahead of Tuesday’s Big Election?” www.riskhedge.com, November 3, 2022.

We are back to the state of five retrograde planets following the turn of Mars on October 31. This, on top of the potent T-square between the Sun/Venus in Scorpio opposing Uranus in Taurus and square Saturn in Aquarius, November 5-11, now in its orb of influence. And this is in addition to the lunar eclipse on November 8, right in the middle of the T-square, and also the date of the U.S. mid-term elections. The good news is that the geocosmic hurricane/tsunami season for financial markets (and geopolitics) ends after that.

For now, financial markets are starting off every bit as wild as these cosmic signatures suggested they would. Continue reading…

MMA FREE WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING OCTOBER 31, 2022 ©

REVIEW AND PREVIEW

The U.S. economy grew in the third quarter but showed signs of a broad slowdown as consumer and business spending faltered under high inflation and rising interest rates. Gross domestic product—a measure of goods and services produced across the nation—grew at a 2.6% annual rate in the third quarter after declining in the first half of the year. – Sarah Chaney Cambon, “Economy Grows, But Warnings Flash,” Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2022.

It was a tale of two markets in U.S equities. The DJIA and S&P soared to new monthly highs on Friday with the former up every day. The tech-heavy NASDAQ topped out on Tuesday, October 25, the day of the solar eclipse, then sold off hard into Thursday before recovering on Friday, but was not able to make a new weekly high. Continue reading…