Nonfarm payrolls increased 253,000 for the month, beating Wall Street estimates for growth of 180,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate was 3.4% against an estimate for 3.6% and tied for the lowest level since 1969. Average hourly earnings, a key inflation barometer, rose 0.5% for the month, more than the 0.3% estimate and the biggest monthly gain in a year. – Jeff Cox, “Job Growth Totals 253,000 in April, Beating Expectations,”, May 5, 2023.

Last year’s techwide reckoning continues. In 2023, layoffs have yet again cost tens of thousands of tech workers their jobs; this time, the workforce reductions have been driven by the biggest names in tech like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo and Zoom. The running total of layoffs for 2023 based on full months to date is 168,243, according to – Natasha Mascarenhas and Alyssa Stringer, “A Comprehensive List of 2023 Tech Layoffs,”, May 5, 2023.

It was the week of the Mercury retrograde midpoint (May 2-3 +/- 1 day), otherwise known as the “Inferior Conjunction of the Sun and Mercury,” “Mercury Cazimi,” or for market timing purposes, the “Full Stride Period of the Trickster.” And what a wild week it was in many financial markets!

The middle of the week (mid-Mercury retrograde) witnessed another rate hike by the Federal Reserve, accompanied with a hint that it may be the last increase for a while. The week ended with conflicting economic reports, as noted by the above quotes. Several companies have announced they will be (or already are) initiating large layoffs, yet the employment reports keep showing more people entering the workforce. Perhaps as people are being laid off, they are also starting two or three part-time jobs to make up for the loss of income. With Mercury retrograde, we may not have the full story. These reports are lagging indicators. Things can quickly change, as the markets themselves illustrated last week.

As an example, the DJIA rallied to a new primary cycle high on Monday, May 1, at 34,257. Just three days earlier, it was making a major cycle low at 33,235. The next three days, the DJIA fell 367, 270, and 286 points, respectively, bottoming at 32,937 on Thursday, May 4, lower than the major cycle low of the prior week. The next day, Friday, it was up over 500 points. As noted before, under Mercury retrograde, price swings every 1-4 days are common. As we approach the Sun/Uranus conjunction, the swings get larger and larger.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose on Friday, notching its best month since January. The blue-chip index closed 272 points, or 0.8%, higher at 34,098.16. The Dow finished April 2.5% higher, its best monthly showing since January, when the average ended up 2.8%. –Alex Harring and Sarah Min, “Dow Gains More than 250 Points Friday as Index Finishes Best Month Since January,”, April 28, 2023.

U.S. economic growth slipped in the first quarter in the midst of still-high inflation and rising interest rates, adding to worries about a possible recession later this year. U.S. gross domestic product, a measure of the value of all the goods and services produced in the country, rose at an inflation- and seasonally-adjusted 1.1% annual rate from January to March, a significant slowdown from 2.6% growth in the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department said Thursday. – Austen Hufford, “Economy Cools Amid Recession Fears,” Wall Street Journal, April 28, 2023.

It was another Mercury retrograde roller coaster ride. Most global equity markets were down into mid-week and looking poised to fall off a cliff. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, the “Trickster” must have found something of hope for the nation – for the world – in President Biden’s announcement last Tuesday that he will run again for the highest office in the universe. It was intentionally declared on the same day that he had announced previous candidacies for office, in which he had won. It’s his lucky day.

Or maybe the market rallied because, on Wednesday, the House of Representatives finally approved a bill to lift the nation’s borrowing limit (i.e., debt ceiling). It has no chance of passage in its current form as Senate leader Chuck Schumer has already decreed that it will be “dead on arrival” once it reaches the Senate for a vote. Nevertheless, there is now a bill to raise the debt ceiling, and it’s a first step in the possibility of avoiding a financial catastrophe that advances ever closer.

The majority of global stock indices followed a similar pattern once again. That is, most made major cycle lows last Wednesday, +/- 1 day, then rallied nicely into the close of the week. In some cases, the rallies were to new highs for this primary cycle and even for this current year. That was the case in Japan and India, where the Nikkei Index rose to its highest mark since mid-August of last year, and the Nifty to its highest level since mid-February,

In Europe, the German DAX soared to its highest price since January 2022, and the SMI did the same on Friday to its highest level since June 2022.

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 SpaceX on Friday is taking stock after the company’s Starship rocket exploded a few minutes after lifting off the day before in southern Texas. “If we lift off and clear the pad, we’re calling that a win,” SpaceX engineer Kate Tice said. – Micah Maidenberg, “After SpaceX’s Starship Rocket Explosion—Debris, Data and Analysis,” Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2023.

An IRS supervisor has told lawmakers he has information that suggests the Biden administration is improperly handling the criminal investigation into President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and is seeking whistleblower protections, according to people familiar with the matter.  Aruna Viswanatha, Sadie Gurman, and C. Ryan Barber, “Hunter Biden Probe Is Being Mishandled, IRS Supervisor Says,” Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2023.

It was the week of the big solar eclipse in the last minutes of the last degree of Aries, square Pluto in the first minutes of the first degree of Aquarius, and the global equity markets.… yawn. The rest of the world was riveted in a series of rocket explosions, exposes, leaks, and revelations of political cover-ups, plus renewed anxieties about the possibility of a credit default approaching for the United States, also typical topics for a Pluto highlighted week. But the stock markets of the world hardly moved at all. Perhaps the arrival of the “Trickster” – Mercury retrograde – on Friday, April 21, coincided with an environment of just too many conflicting narratives happening all at once to make a clear judgment about what it all means for the future. Then again, Pluto is only interested in a future where the present has been obliterated by revelation (and punishment) for the sins of the past.

The pattern and timing were similar in all regions. That is, most indices made highs in this geocosmic highlighted period of April 11-21. Most ended or paused their 5-6 week rallies nearby the April 14-17 time period, then declined modestly into the end of last week. In Asia and the Pacific Rim, China and Japan stood out. China’s Shanghai Composite rallied to 3396 on Tuesday, April 18, its highest level since July 5, 2022, at 3424. It then tumbled into Friday. Japan’s Nikkei Index rallied to a high of 28,778 on Friday, April 21, its best mark since August 2022, but then it closed down on Friday as well. Hong Kong, India, and Australia made their cycle highs (so far) on April 17, then pulled back at the end of last week.

In Europe, the Zurich SMI rallied all week, with Friday producing a new 10-month high. London’s FTSE was also up into Friday, but not a new high for this year. The German DAX soared to a new high of 15,916 on April 18, which is close to its all-time high of 16,290 made in 2021. The Netherlands AEX was quiet after recording its cycle high so far on April 12.

The U.S. markets were mixed. The S&P futures made a new cycle high on April 18, but the DJIA and NASDAQ did not make new cycle highs last week. Their highs remain as of April 14 and April 4, respectively. Brazil’s Bovespa peaked one day earlier on April 12. But all were down into the end of last week, though not by much.

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Is inflation over? That was the temporary market sigh of relief you heard Wednesday morning as the feds reported that the consumer price index for March rose a mere 0.1%. But prices are still rising at a 5% 12-month rate, which will not strike most Americans as a triumph. This is the real inflation story. A price level that rises 5% instead of 9.1% isn’t deflation. It is disinflation, which means prices are still rising, only not as fast as they were. The overall standard of living is lower and Americans are still paying more for nearly everything. – Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, “On Inflation, the Price is Still Wrong,” April 12, 2023.

Americans pulled back on spending at retail stores in March as demand cooled sharply in the face of banking turmoil, persistent inflation and high interest rates. Retail sales, a measure of how much consumers spent on a number of everyday goods, including cars tumbled 1% in March, the Commerce Department said Friday. That is well below the 0.4% decline projected by Refinitiv economists and a marked drop from February, when sales fell 0.2%. It is the biggest decline since December. – Megan Henney, “Retail Sales Tumble More Than Expected,”, April 14, 2023.

Global stock indices continued their rallies off the primary cycle lows of March 13-20 into the very end of last week before this powerful geocosmic reversal zone of April 11-21 struck, fueled by Venus square Saturn and the disappointing (Saturn) retail sales (Venus) report.

The Asian and Pacific Rim markets were closed by the time the U.S. retail sales report was announced. Hence, most ended on a very positive note for the week, with multi-week highs realized. None of the indices in this region made new yearly highs, but China’s Shanghai Composite came close with Friday’s high of 3340, just slightly below the high of 3342 on March 7. Each recorded their highest levels last week since the lows of March 14-20.

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The Labor Department reported Friday that payrolls grew by 236,000 for the month, compared to the Dow Jones estimate for 238,000. The unemployment rate ticked lower to 3.5%, against expectations that it would hold at 3.6%. Though it was close to what economists had expected, the total was the lowest monthly gain since December 2020. – Jeff Cox, “Job Growth Totals 236,000 in March,”, April 7, 2023.

Lawmakers are growing more uneasy about raising the debt ceiling, the self-imposed $31.38 trillion borrowing limit they hit in January. Without new legislation, a default by the US government could come over the summer or in early September, according to various analyses. (Jamie) Dimon, who has worked closely with the White House and Congress this year on various economic problems, told (Poppy) Harlow that there would be no default under his watch. “Not as long as I’m alive.” – Nicole Goodkind, “There Are Storm Clouds Ahead for the Economy, JPMorgan Chase CEO Says,” CNN Business, April 7, 2023.

It was a shortened holiday week for global markets. However, it was still noteworthy for many markets related to the Venus/Uranus conjunction in Taurus on March 30. The 4-day allowable orb (trading days) finally kicked in early last week, April 4-5, for most global stock indices, which ended strong 3-week rallies off their primary cycle lows of March 13-20. In some cases, new highs for this year were attained last week during this allowable time band for a reversal or pause.

In Europe, the German DAX soared to its highest level in over a year on April 4. The Zurich SMI came close to its high of January 17, 2023, on Friday and near its highest level since June 2022. The Netherlands AEX rallied also to a high on April 4, and the London FTSE rallied all week. Each is up smartly from their lows of March 13-20, MMA’s last three-star geocosmic critical reversal zone.

Asia and the Pacific Rim were mixed. China’s SSE index and India’s NIFTY index rallied all week, with China nearing its high for 2023. Both Japan’s Nikkei and Australia’s ASX indices peaked early in the week, on April 4-5. The Hang Seng of Hong Kong was an outlier, having peaked the prior week on March 31.

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March recorded the worst U.S. bank failures since the 2008 crisis, but that did not stop some investors from snapping up battered financial stocks to bolster their bets on the sector’s long-term health, fund-flow data showed… That’s despite both funds plunging about 29% in March as the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank triggered fears of a contagion and doubts about the sector’s stability. – Lisa Pauline Mattackal, “What Crisis? U.S. Bank-focused ETFs See Strongest Demand in Months in March,”, March 31, 2023.

“Absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence” – Old archaeological adage quoted by Kristin Romey, “What Archaeology Is Telling Us About the Real Jesus,” National Geographic, March 29, 2023.

What banking crisis? Wasn’t all the evidence there for a banking collapse? Answer: only in the land of Neptune and Pisces, where realities don’t depend on evidence as much as intuition and imagination. However, in time, their intuition may prove correct, even if their timing is premature.

All the fear of two weeks ago that the global financial and banking systems were on the verge of a massive collapse suddenly evaporated. It was so Neptunian. The Sun, Mercury, and Neptune were conjunct in Pisces and in a square aspect to Mars on March 15-16, with Venus square Pluto as well, right at the height of the hysteria (Neptune and Pisces). Now, two weeks later, several global stock indices are on a two-week torrid rally, and much of the recent decline has been recovered. This is what markets look like when an MMA three-star geocosmic critical reversal combination occurs at the end (and beginning) of a primary cycle.

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