Review and preview 

U.S. stocks tumbled on Friday, closing out a losing week and continuing a rough start to 2022. The Nasdaq Composite was hit the hardest with Friday’s selling sending the tech-heavy index to its worst week since 2020. The Nasdaq is off to its worst start to a year, through the first 14 trading days, since 2008. – Maggie Fitzgerald and Pippa Stevens, “NASDAQ Tumbles 2% Friday, Notches Its Worst Week Since 2020,” www.cnbc.com, January 21, 2022.

It wasn’t as if one should be surprised. After all, a week in which both Mercury and Uranus changed directions, with Venus in the middle of her retrograde cycle, is a blaring advertisement for surprises. And last week’s column noted, “The fact that he (Mercury retrograde) returns with the Moon also in Gemini, his ruling domain, indicates a wild and erratic trading climate may be in store these next few days, even weeks. The potential for chaos is further highlighted by Uranus ending its retrograde cycle and turning direct on Tuesday, January 18. Mercury retrograde is trouble enough. Uranus changing direction is even more unstable and given to sudden disruptions and unexpected events. It can be like an earthquake…” After posting new all-time or multi-year highs just two weeks ago, many global stock indices were beaten up badly all week in what felt like the ground giving way. It was even more unstable for Bitcoin. Fear is quickly replacing greed, and urgency is replacing complacency in the psychology of investors of both stocks and cryptos.

When support breaks (Uranus and Mercury retrograde) and uncertainty begins to cast a dark shadow over one’s ability to see a bright economic future, irrational exuberance succumbs to fear. If not abated quickly, it could soon lead to hysteria as Jupiter continues its approach to Neptune in Pisces. Yet with all things related to Jupiter and Neptune, extreme optimism or fear of the future may be greatly exaggerated. It is not as bad as Republicans might claim or as great as President Biden might proclaim. People are going back to work, even though jobless claims did rise last week, and a lot of companies and banks are still making healthy profits and projecting more ahead. But the Fed is on the verge of taking away the punch bowl, and individuals’ stock portfolios have probably sunk more in the last two weeks than expected. The NASDAQ, for instance, is now down 17.6% from its recent all-time high. Bitcoin is down 45.5% from its all-time high on November 10.

Many of the world stock indices fell to their lowest level in months as Mercury began its three-week trek in retrograde motion, compounded by the master of disruption and breakdowns, Uranus, turning direct last Tuesday, January 18. In Asia and the Pacific Rim, Japan’s Nikkei and Australia’s ASX indices fell to their lowest levels since last summer. The Shanghai Composite (SSE) also broke to a new two-month low. It wasn’t so bad in India where the NIFTY Index only made a corrective decline. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index was actually at its highest level since November 22.

It was also parallel realities in Europe as the London FTSE index soared to its highest level since the pandemic crash of March 2020. But in the Netherlands AEX, Germany DAX, and Switzerland SMI, shares fell to their lowest level in a month. Just two weeks ago, the SMI made a new all-time high, while the DAX and AEX made secondary highs to their all-time highs of November.

The schizophrenic nature of the world markets was also present in the Americas. The U.S indices were down hard all week, but the Bovespa of Brazil rallied to a new three-month high.

So, what is it about Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, and Brazil that was so much more attractive to investors, while every place else was being pummeled last week? I don’t know. It must be Mercury and Venus retrograde – except planets aren’t supposed to be causal.

Gold and Silver had very good weeks, with both soaring to new highs for this primary cycle, even with European currencies falling. The adage that people flock to “safe havens” like precious metals in times of uncertainty may be at work. However, as mentioned in recent columns, I think it is the story of inflation related to the Jupiter/Neptune conjunction coming up in Pisces in April. The President and Federal Reserve Chairman may try to convince everyone that inflation is about to go down, but when such cheerleading is rendered under retrograde Mercury and Venus, along with Jupiter in Pisces, I wouldn’t take that rosy outlook too seriously yet.

The star performer last week was again Crude Oil, which is closely associated with Jupiter, Neptune, and Pisces. It rallied to its highest level since October 2014. It has more room to go up, just as the stock market has more room to go down, under this cosmic combination.

short-term geocosmics and longer-term thoughts

 “China’s central bank lowered its benchmark lending rates, stepping in to support a slowing economy that has been weighted down by a slumping the property market. – Jonathan Cheng, “China Bank Cuts Benchmark Rates,” Wall Street Journal, January 21, 2022.

Under Venus retrograde, we anticipated that central banks would be announcing new policies. The Fed announced it would raise rates sooner rather than later two weeks ago to fight inflation, and now China is announcing the opposite approach. It is lowering rates to support its faltering economy. If history is any guide to the future, China’s announcement should support its stock markets, whereas the Fed’s announcements are clearly not supporting its equity markets. Two different medicines to fight two different ailments, and in each case, it may end up leading to the other’s ailment. It is a classic Trickster (Mercury retrograde) dilemma: which battle is the one worth fighting when you have to choose? 

Speaking of battles. I just returned from five weeks in the battle zone of Europe, specifically in Cologne, Germany and Amsterdam, Netherlands. What an experience! It was like a war-zone in the fight against the Omicron variant. Everyone near to me contracted it – except me. The speed by which it spread was unbelievable. My wife and her daughter became infected with it and we were quarantined most of my time in Cologne. Their family members also came down with the virus, despite being vaccinated (twice) and with the booster. They used to tease me about the vitamins and supplements I take every morning (hey! I am Virgo rising! Good health is important to me). Now they think I have superhuman powers because I was the only one that didn’t get it despite being exposed to the same people to whom they were exposed.

Why did they get it and I didn’t? I, too had the shots and booster for one simple reason: I wanted to see them, and you couldn’t travel internationally unless you have them. Also, I believed that the risk from contacting COVID-19 at my age (I turned 144 on December 25) posed more of a danger than the consequences of vaccinations, although I know many people who have suffered complications after receiving vaccinations. I also know many people who have gone to the cloud after contacting COVID-19 over the past two years. It is another one of those choices that everyone has to make between two undesirable situations: your belief in the right to make your own choice about your health versus subjecting yourself and others to the risk of contracting a serious illness. These are not easy choices to make, and these are not easy times with large segments of your social and professional circle divided emotionally on the issue, and with each side claiming to have science on their side.

But the main reason I share this experience with you is twofold. First, to share with you that I don’t think the shots protected me from contacting COVID-19, as they didn’t protect my wife and her family. They were sick. Now I am not a doctor, and this is not a recommendation, but I attribute my good fortune more to simply taking Vitamin C (liquid bioflavonoids from “Nature’s Answer”), Zinc Drink from “Metagenics,” and IAG from Biotics Research, and possibly, turmeric and oregano.

The second purpose for writing this pertains to another possible scenario related to Jupiter and Neptune conjoining in Pisces on April 12 (but its themes are already starting to play out). On the one hand, this combination can be extremely liberating, corresponding to a sense of freedom from a pandemic or endemic such as COVID-19. On the other hand, it can also indicate a large segment of the world’s population that is increasing in its threatening symptoms related to this illness. In other words, we may see two tracks developing here: one where the pandemic is decreasing sharply, and another where it is increasing sharply. Maybe it has to do with those who are vaccinated and not suffering so much versus those who haven’t been vaccinated and are now suffering even more. Or perhaps it has to do with certain types or groups of people who are exhibiting repercussions from vaccinations versus those who don’t.

With Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces through mid-May, the gap may widen between science and theories. Neptune and Pisces can be rather delusional (delusions of grandeur and persecution). Jupiter of course, loves to exaggerate to make its point. No good storyteller is void of exaggeration.

In Amsterdam. a city of very clever, artistic, and friendly folks, I noted with curious amusement the following graffiti on a wall that nailed today’s divisions: “Conspiracy is just a theory until it’s too late." 

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 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 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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