Fiery Mars entered fiery Leo yesterday and begins moving towards a conjunction with the cold reality of Saturn. Meanwhile, Saturn and Chiron (wounding and healing) are very close to their final conjunction in a series that began in 2003, and the expansive optimism of Jupiter gets crushed in their embrace this week. None of this is good news for financial markets which depend upon consumer confidence for growth.

The stock and other financial markets are a great example of the way that positive thinking brings about good results – if consumer confidence is high they tend to buy more things, which generates more orders, which improves the bottom line, which makes the stock more attractive. Even without good “technicals,” if a stock is going up it tends to become a more attractive investment to others, which is how the dot-com boom took over the markets in the late 1990s. The markets overall have seen a fairly steady increase with Jupiter (optimism and good fortune) in Scorpio (secrets and other people’s money) since October 2005. Consumers are purchasing beyond their means, and piling up debt (also ruled by Scorpio) to do it.

The second square between Jupiter (optimism) and Saturn (pessimism) is putting pressure on that confidence and could have a chilling effect on the markets. Even the emerging Asian markets, where stock prices were driven to unsustainable levels, are taking a hit. Henry Weingarten, noted financial astrologer, reports that there is a “93% certainty that the markets will be substantially lower than they are now.” Weingarten recommends trading 50% of the portfolio rather than the old “buy and hold” strategy, and says to keep much of your portfolio in cash.

The Jupiter/Saturn square is affecting the housing market as well, and higher interest rates will continue to flatten or depress home prices. Saturn, that old codger, is conservative and demands security. This is a time for saving rather than spending, and try to avoid the lure of those shiny new cars , diamonds and beach houses. There are enough stressful planetary configurations going on this year (through September/October) to indicate that unwise investment decisions could lead to trouble ahead.

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