The U.S. economy added 216,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department reported Friday. That was larger than November’s gain of 173,000, and better than forecasters were expecting. For all of 2023, employers added 2.7 million jobs, a slowdown from 4.8 million in 2022, but a better gain than in the several years preceding the pandemic. Wages rose a healthy 4.1% last month from a year earlier and the unemployment rate in December held at 3.7%. The labor market’s slowing but steady pace during 2023, coupled with a sharp slowdown in inflation, has fueled optimism that the economy can achieve a so-called soft landing. That would mean inflation eases without a recession. Amara Omeokwe and Chip Cutter, “Job Gains Picked Up in December,” Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2024.

 It’s a New Year and a new Mercury cycle. A lot has happened since our last column two weeks ago.

The new year started out with 1) the DJIA and many other global stock markets making multi-year or secondary highs on January 2, the first day of trading, and then reversing, as 2) the Trickster (Mercury retrograde) headed back into hibernation for the rest of this winter. Did we just see the primary cycle crest or double top in global stock markets on January 2?

The only markets making new all-time highs in the past two weeks were the DJIA and India’s Nifty index. The London FTSE and Australian ASX made multi-month highs on January 2. But most others only recorded a secondary high to December’s highs, and then all retreated into Friday. Thus, we have multiple cases of intermarket bearish divergence in regions across the globe, which begs the question as to whether a sharp decline is beginning. The exception to this pattern last week was China’s Shanghai Composite, which made a 20-month low on December 22 and exhibited a rather weak-looking rebound last week.

Bitcoin and Ethereum followed a similar pattern, with BTC making a new yearly high on January 2. Still Ethereum’s yearly high was the prior week, for a case of intermarket bearish divergence there too. Traders are waiting for approval of a Bitcoin ETF due this coming week. But most of the price appreciation on that announcement may already be baked into the recent new yearly highs.

Gold and Silver also attended rallies, but both fizzled after January 2 at lower levels than their highs in December. Our concern is that a 16.5-month cycle to new muti-month lows may be underway.

Crude Oil, on the other hand, looks much more promising. A primary bottom may be in as of December 13 with a secondary challenge on January 3. Prices have rallied most of last week on the announcement that the U.S. is ready to start replenishing its Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR). But that was the idea the last time when Crude fell below 70.00, and the administration failed then to get back before prices rose.


 “A life lived in service is not a sacrifice, but an honor.” Queen Elizabeth, “The Crown,” Netflix, Season 6, Episode 9.

Mars entered Capricorn on Thursday, January 4, where it will reign in exaltation until February 13. Peace treaties and/or ceasefires and a winding down of violence in the Middle East can start to take place by the end of this period. Therefore, until then – and maybe beyond – Crude Oil can still rally as it tends to exhibit wider price swings with this ingress.

Next, we find two favorable trine aspects unfolding. The first is the Sun/Uranus waning trine on January 10, followed by the Mars/Jupiter waning trine on January 12. This may coincide with a favorable movement in tech-related and energy markets. However, a more important aspect will be the Sun/Pluto duo, both ingressing into Aquarius together on January 20-21. The 0° Aquarius point is the important “super-charged degree” related to the “New Aira” of December 21, 2020 (Jupiter/Saturn conjunction) as described in the Forecast 2024 book. The parallel paradigms of war and technological renaissance (AI) may be highlighted as news events around this time. So, there may be announcements regarding high-visibility court cases and decisions (Donald Trump), as well as new policy announcements regarding the recent scandal in higher education (Harvard).


Back in 2023, Mr. Biden could—and should—have decided to be a one-term president. He would have been revered as a paragon of public service and a rebuke to Mr. Trump’s boundless ego. Democratic bigwigs know this… Unfortunately, Mr. Biden and his party had several reasons for him fighting one more campaign, none of them good. His sense of duty was tainted by vanity. Having first stood for president in 1987 and labored for so long to sit behind the Resolute desk, he has been seduced into believing that his country needs him because he is a proven Trump-beater. Likewise, his staff’s desire to serve has surely been tainted by ambition. It is in the nature of administrations that many of a president’s closest advisers will never again be so close to power. Zanny Minton Beddoes, “The Man Supposed to Stop Donald Trump is an Unpopular 81-Year Old”, The Economist, January 4, 2024.

With Donald Trump leading the 2024 polls while calling for a 10% universal tariff, the new GOP protectionists are trying to sell this idea as a boon for the working class. The evidence exposes this folly: Trade wars invite painful retaliation, prop up politically favored industries at the expense of others, and raise prices on consumers like an invisible tax. They hurt the average worker. The economic literature on this point is voluminous. “Trump’s Tariffs and the Common Man,” Wall Street Journal Opinion Page, January 2, 2024.

The idea that higher tariffs are a sound economic strategy is nonsense and even goes to the point of delusion, especially in today’s world. That is because tariffs mean higher prices for consumers since – once again, after a lag – they will be a leading cause of higher prices and inflation, just as was the case in 2021. Yes, there were additional causes of inflation, such as the out-of-control government stimulus packages and the overly easy accommodative Federal Reserve monetary policy. But the initial cause for inflation was the disruption in the global supply chains caused by the Trump tariffs and, in my honest opinion, misguided isolationist leanings. Supplies became limited, and when you dimmish supplies, the result is higher prices unless you also diminish demand, which was not and will not be the case.

In fact, the inflation cycle is very close to the same point it was in during the previous Saturn/Uranus waning square cycle. That is, Saturn squared Uranus in 1975-1976. Inflation was cranking up from 3% in early 1973 to double digits (12%) by early 1975. By the end of 1976, it was back to 4.9%. But then it had a second wind, taking consumer prices up to nearly 15% by early 1980. Now, a 45-year Saturn/Uranus cycle later, we witnessed inflation down to 1% in 2020. Then, as the next Saturn/Uranus square went into effect from January 2021 to October 2022, inflation spiked sharply to 9% before starting to back down. Presently, it is about 3%. It is not a perfect 45-year fit, but as Mark Twain said, it’s “close enough that it rhymes.”

Based on my understanding of what the present administration is trying to do and what former-President Trump plans to do if re-elected, I see another surge in inflation coming in 2025. If Trump wins, there will be tariffs leading to another disruption in the global supply chain. If Biden wins, it will be because the White House (in concert with the Fed, whose chairman had a nasty experience with Trump from 2018 to 2020) will try to bring mortgage rates down to 5.5% (they are already on the way). This, too, will stimulate a renewal of rising home prices. At first, home prices will be steady as competition between new sellers and new buyers grows (and Jupiter is in the stable sign of Taurus until late May). Then they start climbing higher (after a lag), which will likely happen soon after the election and maybe as Jupiter enters Gemini in late May. Homeowners will either begin to sell or refinance their homes and thus, they will have more money to spend. That’s inflationary, too, and fits the rhyming of the 45-year Saturn/Uranus cycle.

There are other factors that fit into this narrative I am anticipating. We have a cosmic conflict between the approaching Chiron/North Node/solar eclipse of late March or early April versus the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction of April 21. The former has a strong correlation to recessions and longer-term stock market cycle lows within the following year, while the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction more often correlates with new all-time or multi-year highs sometime between the aspect date and the following year. We could see both. That is new all-time stock market highs into spring/summer, followed by a sharp decline and recession by the middle of 2025. The Jupiter/Uranus cycle can also correlate with new inflationary readings anytime between April and the end of the year (again, there is a lag effect between the cycle and the reports). I don’t see the U.S. coming out of this potential economic misjudgment fiasco until we get to the middle of the “Aries Vortex” in 2026 or later (see or listen to Forecast 2024 for a deeper description of this extremely rare but powerful geocosmic arrangement).

Plan your investment strategy accordingly. I will be discussing this issue in the February 18 annual worldwide broadcast on “Forecast 2024 Updated.”


As you know, all through last year, there were dire predictions of a coming recession. AXIOS has an article by Emily Peck on December 22 about analysts (Bloomberg Economics, The Economist, and others) being wrong about a predicted recession. ‘”Call it the Big Whiff — last year at this time, most economists, many journalists, and a lot of regular folks felt certain that the U.S. was headed into recession.”

 Now, this is what Ray said at the same time in the Forecast Book 2023: …

 “Although any aspect from Saturn (even harmonious ones) can indicate a lack of robust growth, it can also indicate that at least the period of decline is bottoming, and the economy can stabilize. This is important because several economic analysts believe the U.S. is on the verge of a serious recession. That may be true, but these aspects suggest that the next “Great Recession” may be delayed for a few more years (see chapter on the U.S.). We cannot rule out a period of slow growth with another minor recession first, however.”

 Ray knocked it out of the ballpark….again. Thank you! – BW



This is the 48th year of publishing this popular annual astrological almanac by Raymond Merriman. This year’s book is 200 pages and provides projections of major social, political, mundane, and economic issues of the next year as seen through the lens of rhythmic and planetary cycle studies. This is critical at this time because 1) we are approaching the Aries Vortex in 2025-2026, which itself is the middle of the “New Aira” period of 2020-2032, and 2) the U.S. presidential election is taking place in 2024. This year’s book gives an in-depth view of this election. In addition to analysis of mundane cycles, this book also provides our outlook on the Stock Market, Gold, Silver, Bitcoin, Currencies, Crude Oil, Treasuries and Interest rates, and Grain markets. The back section contains an ephemeris and geocosmic calendar outlining planetary aspects and lunar ingresses in effect every day of every month from January 2024 through March 2025.

The retail price of the Forecast 2024 printed edition is $66 (while supplies last), and the eBook is $55. Order now before they sell out (six of the last nine years have sold out, including last year).

 This year’s printed and eBook versions will also be available in these languages:

German: or email at



 NOTE 2: Each foreign translation of Forecast 2024 has a section on that nation’s stock market that is not in the English or other nations’ Forecast Book. Yet we are aware that some readers and investors may be interested in the stock markets of these other nations, but do not wish those editions in the other nation’s language. Therefore, we make those stock market outlooks available in English as a separate service for $35.00 each. The overseas market reports for 2024 that are available separately in English include: Japan’s Nikkei, China’s Shanghai Composite, and the German DAX plus Zurich SMI indices. Each is available in PDF format. Each report contains their monthly charts as of December 13, 2023, and a list of their critical reversal dates for 2023.

 NOTE 3: The Abridged Edition of Forecast 2024 Audiobook is now available! This shortened MP4 audio edition, narrated by Thomas Miller, includes the first nine chapters on the Mundane Astrological outlook for the year (and the next eight years) based on the long-term planetary cycles and their historical themes over the past several centuries. This will include “The New Aira,” The “Aries Vortex,” Cycles of War and Renaissance, Living in “The New Aira,” The World and National Economy, and The U.S. Presidential Election in 2024. Original and special studies conducted on the history of the major aspects of 2024 related to the election outcome are given. The audio edition will also include the retrograde time bands of Mercury and Mars and their importance in 2024.

The Forecast 2024 Audiobook is an excellent choice for those who enjoy listening to books while driving, walking, or working out. The cost of the Forecast 2024 Audio version is $29.99. For more information or ordering, please click here.

 NOTE 4: THE MMA WEEKLY YouTube show, Geocosmic Week in Review and Look Ahead, with Gianni Di Poce, is conducted on Wednesday evenings! Each 5-20 minute FREE episode reviews the market activity of the past week and offers a preview of the geocosmic signatures in effect for the next week and beyond. Last Wednesday’s episode featured Raymond Merriman, discussing the nearby and longer-term trends for the stock market, Gold, Crude Oil, Bitcoin and mortgage rates. You may view this interview at the Merriman Market YouTube station, or click here.

 NOTE 5: Raymond Merriman was interviewed recently in another very interesting and entertaining 45-minute discussion on the most important themes of the Forecast 2024 Book. The interview was conducted by Thomas Miller, who was also the narrator of this year’s Forecast 2024 Audiobook. For more in-depth and up-to-date thoughts on 2024, please click here to listen to this most recent interview.

 The were two other insightful interviews earlier this month.

The first interview was conducted by Callum Wilkinson of Kepler College on November 30, as part of the Kepler series called “Leaders in Astrology.” It is available for viewing by clicking here.

The second interview was conducted by Volker Schendel of Germany in his series on “Astrology in the 21st Century.” Click here to watch the interview.

Both interviews delved into Merriman’s background and history as an astrologer and financial market analyst, ranging from his original work on Evolutionary Astrology to Financial Astrology to his 50 years in community service to Astrology and his role as President of ISAR and founding of AFAN and UAC, as well as the creation of the Merriman Market Timing Academy (MMTA). It includes discussions on his research studies in astrology as well as his vision for the future of astrology as it connects with his involvement in the transformation of astrology from a hobby to a profession.

 NOTE 6: MMA’S FREE WEEKLY COLUMN IS NOW A PODCAST ON SPOTIFY, APPLE, AND AMAZON! Now you can listen to a podcast of this weekly column by Thomas Miller on Saturdays! Just follow Merriman Market Analyst on Spotify or Apple to listen to all our episodes. New Podcast episodes will be released every weekend. This is a FREE service and is available to everyone. Checkout our Podcasts on Apple, Spotify, and Apple Music. It makes for great listening!

NOTE 7: MMA’S Daily and Weekly Subscription services continue to be very hot, especially with stock indices, metals, and Bitcoin over the past several weeks. For instance, these reports have been long Gold since the lows of October 6 (below $1840), stocks since right after their low of October 27, and Bitcoin for several weeks as well. To order any of these subscription reports, please click here.


 January 12, 2024. “Trends for 2024” is sponsored by AstroData of Zurich, Switzerland. Speakers are to be announced shortly, but will include Ray Merriman, who will give his outlook on 2024. This event is in German, and Merriman’s presentation will be translated from English to German. For further information, contact

January 19, 2024: Forecast 2024 – Chinese stock and currency markets, plus Gold and Crude Oil. This 3-hour webinar will be presented in English by Ray Merriman, but translated into Chinese by NoDoor School of Astrology in Beijing. For information and registration, please contact NoDoor at

 February 18, 2024, MMA’s Annual Forecast 2024 World Wide Webinar. Details and reservations will be opened after January 1. Save the Date!

 April 20, 2024: “FORECASTS 2024 AND THE APPROCHING ARIES VORTEX,” Nova Southwestern University, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, with Ray Merriman. An in-person live event and workshop, 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM with a 90-minute lunch break. Cost $95.00. This event will not be broadcast via Zoom, but recordings will be made available for sale a few days afterwards. For further information and registration, please click here.

 September 19-22, 2024: SAVE THE DATES!!! This will be the next MMA Investment Retreat! Negotiations are currently underway to bring this exciting gathering to a destination location in Europe for the first time since 2015. Once the agreement with the hotel is finalized, we will make a formal announcement, but for now… SAVE THE DATES! You won’t want to miss this chance to meet with the top MMA analysts (plus special guest speakers Claude Weiss and Aleksandar Imsiragic) live and hear strategies for long-term investments and wealth-building ideas using MMA market timing methods. There is nothing quite like a life-altering MMA Investment Retreat! This one will be very special, and our first Investment retreat in Europe since 2015!

Disclaimer and statement of purpose: The purpose of this column is not to forecast 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 often cite 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 may affect human activity in the times to come. The author (Merriman) will do this from the perspective of a cycles’ 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 the psychological dynamics that underlie (or coincide with) the news events and their potential effect on financial markets.

 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 of this column assume any responsibility whatsoever for anyone’s trading or investment decisions. Readers of this report should understand that commodity futures and options trading are considered high risk.