MMA FREE WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING MAY 17, 2021 ©

PLEASE  NOTE: There will be no column written next week due to preparation for Saturday’s mid-year FORECAST 2021 and Financial Markets update. See “Announcements” below for information.

 

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The Labor Department reported its consumer price index jumped 4.2% in April from a year earlier. The data sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 to their steepest 3-day decline in nearly seven months. – Gwynn Guilford, “Inflation Surge Rattles Markets,” Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2021.

Last week was a classic mutable-sign and ingress performance for world stock indices.

Global indices opened up strong last week, with both the DJIA and S&P making new all-time highs (ATH) in the U.S., but the NASDAQ fell short once again. The new all-time highs didn’t last long. By  Wednesday, the DJIA had plummeted 1536 points and tested its 45-day moving average for the first time since its primary cycle low of March 4. The S&P fell more, nearly 5%, in those two days, and broke below the 45-day MA. The NASDAQ Composite never made a new all-time high. Its ATH remained at 14,217 on April 29, within the allowable three-day orb of our three-star critical reversal date (CRD) of April 26. By Wednesday, May 12, with the Moon in Gemini (mutable) and Jupiter spending its last day in Aquarius before entering Pisces (mutable), it was testing 13,000, down 8.5% from its ATH. Continue reading…

MMA FREE WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING MAY 10, 2021 ©

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Employers adding a measly 266,000 new jobs – sharply missing Wall Street’s expectations – amid a growing shortage of available workers. The unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to 6.1% — while it’s still well below the April 2020 peak of 14.7%, it’s about twice the pre-crisis level, the Labor Department said in its monthly payroll report, released Friday morning. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv expected the report to show that unemployment fell to 5.8% and the economy added 978,000 jobs. – Kristen Altus, “US Labor Secretary on Why Americans Aren’t Going Back to Work,” www.foxbusiness.com/, May 7, 2021.

In any event, a pullback in world equities didn’t start last week, the first week of May– the first week of the month that investors love to chant, “Sell in May and go away.” The only problem is that “selling in May and going away” for more than a month hasn’t worked since 2015. It used to be that you could sell in May and return in October and not miss much. But that hasn’t been the case for several years now. Maybe it will return this year because we have an intermediate-term market cycle that is due, which we will discuss at length in the monthly MMA Cycles Report that comes out this week, and the “Mid-Year Market Review” webinar that will take place May 22 (see “Announcements” below). Continue reading…

MMA FREE WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING MAY 3, 2021 ©

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Gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a 6.4% seasonally adjusted annual rate in January through March. That left the world’s largest economy within 1% of its peak reached in late 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S.” – Josh Mitchell, “U.S. Economy Bounces Back Near Its Peak,” Wall Street Journal, April 30, 2021.

Real GDP rose 6.4% in the period (January-March), as vaccines rolled out, state lockdowns eased, and Americans spent December stimulus payments. The gusher in government transfer payments has hampered the recovery by increasing the incentive not to work. Employers across the country say they can’t find workers due to the federal enhanced $300 weekly jobless benefits that won’t expire until September. Nearly half of unemployed workers can make as much on the couch as they can on the job. – Opinion Page, “The Post-Pandemic Boom: Biden Inherited a Very Strong Recovery, Not a House ‘On Fire,’ ” Wall Street Journal, April 30, 2021.

It was a strange and chaotic week for world financial markets, filled with sudden sharp but short-lived reversals – about what one would expect given that Uranus was conjoined in Taurus by Mercury, Venus, and the Sun April 22-30. Uranus-highlighted periods are usually filled with surprises and abrupt changes. Continue reading…

MMA FREE WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING APRIL 26, 2021 ©

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Welcome to the Biden boom. “Forecasts” of real economic growth now run in the 7% to 8% range… If that happens it will mark the fastest four-quarter growth spurt since 1984.”– Alan S. Binder, “Welcome to Joe Biden’s Boom Economy,” Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2021.

On Thursday Biden officials leaked that they will soon propose raising the federal tax on capital gains to 43.4% from a top rate of 23.8% today. The midday leak managed to tank stocks with the S&P falling the most in more than a month. Treasury yields also fell on the news as investors discounted the prospect for growth. “A 43.4% Capital Gains Tax?” Opinion Page, Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2021.

Of all the silly things Washington types are saying about the economy, few are more dangerous than the myth of “transitory inflation”… Reduced living standards aren’t an accident. They’re the whole point of today’s economic policy.– Joseph C. Sternberg, “The Permanent Truth About Temporary Inflation,” Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2021.

The market declined most of last week because of the surprise announcement of much higher taxes soon to be proposed. The significance of taxes upon the market was noted in this column the last two weeks due to transits involving Pluto which will be in effect through next week. In fact, Pluto turns stationary retrograde this Tuesday, April 27, one day after the full moon in Scorpio. Pluto rules Scorpio and hence also has an association with taxes and other “Plutonian” matters to be discussed this week. Continue reading…

MMA FREE WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING APRIL 19, 2021 ©

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We had an incredible shock, but look how fast we’re bouncing back,” said Alan Sinai. “We’re in the early stages of recovery and we’ve got three to five years to go. I think we’re going to end up in a boom.” That boom might have a potentially troubling side effect. Inflation, as measured by the consumer-price index, is expected to jump sharply from 1.7% in February when March data is released Tuesday. “It makes it hard for a forecaster because I’ve never seen anything like this ever,” Mr. Sinai said. – Gwynn Guilford and Anthony DeBarros. “Forecasters Brace for Uncharted Liftoff,” Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2021.

Congratulations to those who want higher inflation. You’ve got it. The U.S. has never before pursued government-spending and monetary expansion of this magnitude with a hot economy and the Fed says it will wait for durable inflation to appear before changing. Good luck. “Inflation Arrives. Is it ‘Transitory’?”, Wall Street Journal Opinion page. April 12, 2021.

They came of age just as the twisted pathway to a new, warped version of the American Dream first came into focus, one built not on morality but on money, not on personal freedom but on personal indulgence, not on the promise of a future but on the mouthwatering appetite for the present. – Glenn Stout, “Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid,” as book-reviewed by Edward Kosner in the Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2021.

Another record week for U.S. and other world stock markets as this bullet train keeps humming along at full throttle. The party inside just keeps getting more and more wild amidst the never-ending stream of cash and talk of more stimulus that keeps fueling this record run. You would think the Sun is in Aries. Oops! It is! And along with Mars (ruler of Aries) in Gemini, both of these fiery planets have been in a strong harmonious aspect with Jupiter and each other the last two trading days. Continue reading…

MMA FREE WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING APRIL 12, 2021 ©

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The global economy is likely to expand this year at the fastest pace in at least four decades as vaccine rollouts accelerate and advanced economies spend aggressively to counter the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdowns. The IMF expects the world economy to grow 6% this year, the most since 1980. – Yuka Hayashi, “IMF Lifts 2021 Growth Forecast to 6%,” Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2021.

A thousand years ago when money meant coins, China invented paper currency. Now the Chinese government is minting cash digitally, in a re-imagination of money that could shake a pillar of American power. Beijing is also positioning the digital Yuan for international use and designating it to be untethered to the global financial system, where the U.S. dollar is king.– James Areddy, “China is Creating Digital Currency, First for a Major Economy,” Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2021.

It was another positive week for global stocks, consistent with the recent history of the month of April. In 15 of the past 16 years, this has been a favorable month for U.S. stocks. Last week didn’t change that trend. In the U.S., both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P made new all-time highs on Friday, April 9, and the NASDAQ Composite is close to doing the same. In Europe, the Netherlands AEX and German DAX indices made new all-time highs last Tuesday. The Zurich SMI closed less than 30 points away from its all-time high and the FTSE rallied to its highest mark since the pandemic crash of March 2020. There were no new all-time highs in Asia or the Pacific Rim, although their markets were higher than the prior week in most cases. The Australian ASX index also rallied to its highest level since the March 2020 pandemic crash. Continue reading…

MMA FREE WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING APRIL 5, 2021 ©

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Employers added 916,000 jobs in March and the gains from February were revised higher to 468,000 jobs, the Labor Department said Friday. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv expected the addition of 647,000 jobs. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, ticked down to 6%, its lowest level since the COVID-19 pandemic caused many businesses to at least temporarily close their doors in March of last year. The unemployment rate peaked at a record high of 14.7% in April 2020. – Jonathan Garber, “U.S. Economy Adds 916,000 Jobs in March – The Unemployment Rate Fell to 6%,” www/foxbusinessnews.com, April 2, 2021.

Mr. Biden says he wants “other countries to adopt strong minimum taxes on corporations” so nations like Ireland can no longer compete for capital with lower tax rates. Only in Washington would the left punish American employers in the hope that the rest of the world would be as self-destructive. “Here Come the Biden Taxes,” Opinion Page, Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2021. 

Let’s do a quick review of what has happened in world financial markets this year, and particularly since the first passage of Saturn/Uranus square on February 17. As a point of reference, keep in mind that the Saturn/Uranus waning square is the most significant and the longest planetary cycle in effect in 2021. It is the 11.25-year quarter cycle (third quarter phase) to the greater 45-year Saturn/Uranus cycle, which will reset when these two planets conjoin again on June 28, 2032. It is this writer’s position (backed by actual studies) that the Saturn/Uranus cycle and its quarter cycle phases are the most important of all geocosmic signatures correlating to the culmination of long-term financial market and political cycles. Continue reading…

MMA FREE WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING MARCH 29, 2021 ©

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Just a few days ago, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly spoke on the issue and said the Fed has no intention of tightening policy even in the face of roaring bull markets across several asset classes. “We won’t be preemptively taking the punchbowl away,” Daly said during a virtual Q&A Wednesday. – Jeff Cox, “The Fed Has Embraced the “Punchbowl” and Has No Intention of Taking It Away,” www.cnbc.com, March 26, 2021. 

U.S. stocks climbed on Friday, led by bank shares and economic reopening plays as investors cheered data showing subdued inflation. Financial stocks rose after the Federal Reserve announced that banks could resume buybacks and raise dividends starting at the end of June. The central bank originally said it would lift pandemic era restrictions in the first quarter, but even the delayed move gives investors more clarity. – “Dow Closes Up 450 Points at its Session High, Posts a Winning Week,” Yun Li and Jesse Pound, www.cnbc.com, March 26, 2021. 

Global stock markets were down for most of last week but then began another robust rally on Thursday-Friday, March 25-26. Some European indices, like the Netherlands AEX and Zurich SMI, soared to new yearly highs.

A typical example of last week’s erratic (Saturn square Uranus) market activity was apparent in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NASDAQ. The NASDAQ had made a new all-time high on February 16, one day before the first passage of the Saturn/Uranus square, the strongest geocosmic signature in effect in 2021. Several other world equity markets also formed yearly or multi-year highs within one day of this aspect (i.e., ASX in Australia, Shanghai Composite in China, Hang Seng in Hong Kong, the NIFTY Index in India, and the Nikkei in Japan. Continue reading…

MMA FREE WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING MARCH 22, 2021 ©

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The U.S. has (or had) 30 million small businesses employing almost half the workforce. The Main Street Lending program in last year’s Cares Act set aside $75 billion in loss provisions so the Federal Reserve could facilitate $600 billion in loans to small businesses. Here is the report card: As of October, MSLP has made fewer than 400 loans, totaling $3.7 billion. That’s it! A dud. – Andy Kessler, “Small Business Loans are MIA,” Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2021.

Spending packages, such as ARPA (the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act) can’t fix supply-side problems. Since the economy no longer suffers a demand shortfall, the main effect of the law will be to redistribute resources from productive, market-driven activities to unproductive politically driven ones. This bill was never intended to jump-start the economy…. It is reasonable to dedicate federal resources to increase vaccine production. ARPA does little of this, devoting $16 billion to vaccine distribution and another $50 billion to virus testing. But this is far from satisfactory, given its $1.9 trillion total. – Alexander William Salter (economist), “America Doesn’t Need More Stimulus,” Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2021.

We got the new moon in Pisces rally that we expected in global equity markets. It is interesting because just three weeks ago, during the full moon, the market was falling, and it seemed everyone was calling for a crash. We took exception to that and suggested that this particular new moon in Pisces, conjunct Venus and Neptune as well, has a stronger correspondence to euphoria ad irrational exuberance. Yes, when it isn’t euphoric, it could instead be panic and hysteria. But the majority of past cases with a similar dynamic were bullish for equities. Now that the market has reversed and made strong rallies into last week, more analysts are calling for a further “melt-up.” We will take exception to that group-think forecast too, based on the principle of Saturn square Uranus this year. We have dubbed this as “The Year of the Contrarian.” If everyone thinks the market is going to crumble, it is more likely to rally. If everyone thinks the market will rally, it will crumble. The latter dynamic is now dominant, a complete reversal from three weeks ago. Continue reading…

MMA FREE WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING MARCH 15, 2021 ©

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President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package on Thursday afternoon. The plan, his top priority as president, sends direct payments of up to $1,400, extends a $300 per week unemployment insurance supplement, expands the child tax credit, and puts funds into vaccine distribution. Democrats passed the bill in Congress without a Republican vote through the budget reconciliation process. – Jacob Pramuk, “Biden Signs $1.9 Trillion Covid Relief Bill, Clearing Way for Stimulus Checks, Vaccine Aid,” www.cnbc.com, March 11, 2021.

Soon after I went to work in institutional sales at Montgomery Securities, in the early 80’s, our managing partner brought in a consultant to instruct us on macro considerations affecting markets. The most important thing, he said, is that the key determinant of constructing an investment strategy is to assess the liquidity cycle. If liquidity is improving you should be looking to go long something. If liquidity is contracting you should look to be short something. Len Oppenheim, “Observations From the Middle End,” March 7, 2021

And so it was last week as the U.S. stock market – and several other world stock indices (not including the NASDAQ) – soared to new or multi-year highs, following the passage of yet another huge stimulus relief package by the U.S. Congress. It feels really good to be getting all this free money in the form of stimulus checks, increased unemployment payouts, and Payroll Protection Loan Forgiveness Programs. And this is just to name just a few of the giveaways compliments of our  U.S. government’s decision on how to handle all the revenues we pay to the U.S Treasury in the form of our tax payments. They obviously know better than us on how to spend our hard-earned money they receive through taxing our income. Continue reading…