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 TRANSITS AND THE ECONOMY 

By Theodore White, classical astrologer

September 20, 2007

 
The classical astrologer, and one of the founding fathers of the United States, Benjamin Franklin, once wrote ~
 

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be…”

 
This sound advice from the man whose image graces the U.S. $100 dollar bill has never been taken by the international bankers who continue to help ruin the world’s economies.
 
World transits continue to show that the international bankers are the cause of the current "credit crisis" that has hit Europe and North America this year. We’ve seen this resulting from the Saturn-Neptune opposition that began in August 2006, and came to a head late last year when a inner core of international bankers bet against the mortgage industry and “shorted” bets on the massive hedge-funds that packaged all types of mortgage-loans that were then traded on the world market.
 
Global transits indicate that the month of October 2007 will see a continued downturn with the coming conjunction of transiting Saturn to the transiting Lunar South Node in the early degrees of Virgo.
 
While Jupiter helped to “inflate” values and prices, now Saturn will “deflate” values. This process has already started and will continue through 2007 and into 2008.
 
International Bankers have called the “crisis” that has hit investment banks like Bear Sterns, and Morgan Stanley, among others, “a mistake” ~ as investment banks “write-off” hundreds of millions and billions of dollars of debt resulting from widespread, and failed corruption, fraud, and speculation in the mortgage-lending industry.
 
As Joel Bowman recently wrote, In matters of the heart, they say it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. We’re not sure the same can be said for matters of the wallet. After all, “money borrowed” does, at some point, demand a dutiful transformation into the more painful form of “money returned”. This is the crux of the financial fine print that got so many of those sub-prime pushers and junkies into such trouble in the first place. Across the US, foreclosure rates are at frightening levels, especially in “sunbelt states” like Florida and California.
 
While Ben Bernake, chairman of the Federal Reserve, says that “he is working on” not repeating the mistakes made that led to the massive credit crunch that resulted from the bursting of the mortgage-lending bubble, that won’t help the people who are losing their homes.
 
Bowman says, “RealtyTrac, a group that maintains a national database on US real estate, tells the grim tale. While 43 states experienced year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity, just five states - California, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Georgia - accounted for more than half of the nation’s total foreclosure filings.”
 
Market watcher Bill Bonner reports in September 2007 that, ~
Countrywide known as “Countryslide” in the New York Post has seen its share price fall 60% this year. The stock fell 5% on Monday…following word that the firm needed a bailout pronto. The company’s president, Mozilo Angelo, said the business desperately needs cash to continue operations. Fifty mortgage lenders have closed their doors so far…and more probably will before the correction is over.
 
The resulting crash of the mortgage-lending business has led to a crisis in the money-markets in Europe, and the destruction of the housing market in the United States, which previously enjoyed nearly seven years of unprecedented growth in housing starts, and sales.
 
The pressures resulting from the widespread speculation in housing and the failure of central banks to respond is part and parcel of the hidden roles of international bankers who have caused the Panic of 2007, resulting huge earnings from some investment banks, while others suffered huge losses.
 
In England, the “Panic of 2007” led to a bank run as reported by David Callaway of Market Watch ~
 
“…Then came last Friday, and we all awoke to pictures of British savers lined up in Depression-era, breadline formation to yank their funds out of Northern Rock, after the British banking company said it needed to be bailed out by the Bank of England.
 
By Monday, people had begun withdrawing money from other British banks, and by the time things calmed down the government had to step in and pledge to stand behind all deposits at Northern Rock.
 
The Northern Rock panic is just the latest turn of a global storm whose next direction nobody can predict. Who would have thought it would hit E-Trade Financial Corp., or HR & Block Inc., or the German Banking System?”
 
On Sept. 6, 2007 Callaway suggests the coming holiday season for global traders and their families might be less than stellar this December ~
 
“Two days after summer vacation ends might seem a bit early to talk about Christmas, even for the most profit-hungry retailer. But the confluence of events on Wall Street and in Toyland this week has already cast a Grinch-like shadow over Whoville for this holiday season. It's bad enough that the credit crisis, now a global problem, is threatening thousands of financial and mortgage-related jobs between now and December, not to mention the seven-figure bonuses of those poor souls who are left working in the financial centers of New York, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
But now that Mattel Inc., declared war on Barbie and her lead-eyed dog because of unsafe Chinese manufacturing practices, Christmas is suddenly looking like a bust for the kids as well as their condo-buying, champagne-swilling parents.
 
But the scariest news, Virginia, is that the Federal Reserve Board is indicating that this thing hasn't even begun to wind its way through the broader economy, at least by my reading.
The Fed's Beige Book economic report on the regions of the U.S. on Wednesday showed that economic activity continued to expand in August across much of the nation, although at a slower pace. Indeed, despite the headlines about the credit crisis and the daily turmoil in the financial markets, stocks actually ended the month higher.
Some say this is a sign that the sub-prime mortgage crisis is contained and that even with a correction in housing prices the U.S. economy will continue to march along like those lead-painted tin soldiers we all used to play with as kids, blissfully unaware of toy recalls, or China for that matter.
Yet the fact that the larger economy continued to grow last month is more of a sign that for many the housing crunch is still simply an inconvenience to be waited out rather than a national re-pricing of an asset class. If the Beige Book is to be believed, we could be just at the beginning of the pain that this bursting bubble might cause.
That's why stocks didn't react after it was released. No weakening economy means no interest rate cut from the Fed -- something the markets have been expecting for weeks now. At the very least, barring a disastrous report on August jobs on Friday morning; it means the Fed might stay on hold at least until its next meeting on Sept. 18. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 143.39 points at 13,305.47.
This scenario bodes poorly for the stock market in September, historically one of the worst months for stocks, and October, historically the month for stock market crashes. And while December is usually a good month for markets as holiday buying sparks hopes for first-quarter profit, a consumer crunch at that time could scuttle things for this year -- not to mention the 2008 election year.
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the last time we had a recession during an election year was in 1980, when Ronald Reagan trounced Jimmy Carter, the incumbent. Obviously, it depends on the severity of the downturn, but something tells me the presidential candidates are going to start talking a lot more about the economy as the primaries approach at the turn of the year.
This is no longer a U.S. problem, however. Foreign banks and sovereign buyers are loaded with this mortgage-backed junk, and despite some clever head fakes from the largest central banks, for the moment the markets are still frozen when it comes to trading commercial debt.
Hans-Joerg Rudloff, chairman of London-based Barclays Capital, and one of the elder statesmen of the European fixed income markets, was quoted on the front page of the Financial Times on Wednesday as saying the global credit markets will stay stuck until investors are capable of accepting "a new price level" for the assets of many distressed banks and mortgage lenders.
It's the same understanding that homeowners around the country now have as well -- even in Whoville. Only this time the "roast beast" that Cindy Lou Who carves up on Christmas morning might be the bull market.”
To see how investment banks have made-out from the crisis, all one has to do is look at their Third-Quarter Earnings Reports released Sept. 20, 2007 ~
 
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two Wall Street investment banks had dramatically different success in weathering market turbulence triggered by a sub-prime mortgage meltdown, as results at Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) easily exceeded expectations, while Bear Stearns Cos Inc (BSC.N) fell far short.
 
Third-quarter profit at Goldman, the largest securities firm by market value, soared 79 percent to $2.85 billion, or $6.13 per share, from $1.59 billion, or $3.26 per share, a year earlier, as bets against mortgages helped boost revenue from fixed-income trading to a record.
 
Bear Stearns profit plunged to a five-year low, sinking 61 percent to $171.3 million, or $1.16 per share, from $438 million, or $3.02. Results were hurt by sub-prime mortgage write-downs, an 88 percent slide in fixed-income trading revenue and $200 million of costs from the collapse of two of its hedge funds.
 
Bear Stearns' shares was buffered by comments from the company's chief financial officer, Sam Molinaro, who said on a conference call: "The worst is largely behind us."
 
Largely behind us? Not for your average American family and businesses ~
 
Ø      The number of foreclosure filings reported in the U.S. last month more than doubled versus August 2006 and jumped 36 percent from July.
 
Ø       A total of 243,947 foreclosure filings were reported in August 2007, up 115 percent from 113,300 in the same month a year ago
 
Ø      There were 179,599 foreclosure filings reported in July.
 
Ø      The U.S.  foreclosure rate in August 2007 was one filing for every 510 households,
 
Ø      The rapid deterioration could not come at a worse time for British bank HSBC that had to set aside $10.5bn (£5.4bn) to cover bad loans in the U.S.
 
Ø      The number of bank repossessions jumped to 42,789 in August 2007, compared with 20,116 a year earlier, according to RealtyTrac. In July 2007 there were 26,842 bank repossessions.
 
The states of Nevada, California and Florida had the highest foreclosure rates in the country in August 2007.
 
Nevada reported one foreclosure filing for every 165 households — more than three times the national average. The state had 6,197 filings in August, an increase of 21 percent from July and more than triple the year-ago figure.
 
California's foreclosure rate was one filing for every 224 households. The state reported the most foreclosure filings of any single state with 57,875, up 48 percent from July and an increase of more than 300 percent from August 2006.
 
Florida had one foreclosure filing for every 243 households. In all, the state reported 33,932 foreclosure filings, up 77 percent from July's total and more than twice the year-ago total.
Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Indiana rounded out the 10 states with the highest foreclosure rates.
 
We've got a crisis," says Jeffrey Lubell, executive director of the Center for Housing Policy, a Washington, D.C., research group, according to the Christian Science Monitor. The proposed expansion of federal insurance for loans is "a good start but is not aggressive enough."
And, he says, the rate cut offers reassurance but not a solution.
"It will get more credit flowing," he says. But "it doesn't ultimately forestall the foreclosures that are going to happen."
 
Any housing-crunch relief, whether provided by politicians or the central bank, raises difficult questions of how far officials should go toward a bailout of private-sector lenders and borrowers who, by many accounts, acted unwisely.
Congress, the White House, and the Fed are all navigating that issue cautiously. The Bush administration, for one, is wary of any moves that would make taxpayers liable for a big housing rescue. But none of these parties is taking a do-nothing approach. Several reasons stand out:
 
•Many at-risk homeowners didn't realize the risks they were taking. Many others, it's true, were buyer-investors, who knowingly took loans with risky terms. But often mortgage brokers focused borrowers on the initial "teaser" interest rate, or promised that borrowers could refinance later to avoid a steep reset.
 
•Lenders and borrowers are paying a price already. Foreclosure rates have risen to record levels, and some mortgage companies have collapsed. This week the largest home lender, Countrywide, said it has virtually exited the business of making sub prime loans to people with poor credit histories.
 
•The risks to the economy have grown in recent weeks. Foreclosure is just one of the forces affecting home prices. But economists at Goldman Sachs estimate that the rise in foreclosures over the past year translates into a decline in home prices of about 6 percent by next year. A continued decline in home prices could affect consumer spending.
Such a decline also threatens to further expand the number of foreclosures. If home prices are falling, more recent buyers go "under water." If a rate reset pushes them into default, they can't pay off their loan by selling the house. Congress is also mulling other moves, including letting two government-created agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, buy risky loans once they're renegotiated, to keep borrowers in their homes. Another proposal is to enable bankruptcy judges to adjust loan terms. Mr. Lubell says other steps should include more money for nonprofit foreclosure counseling and the creation of innovative mortgage products for homeowners at risk.
 
It is reported that homebuilders throughout the United States are facing significant challenges from oversupply, tighter lending standards, foreclosures and lower housing prices. Home building companies are also struggling against degrading book values as they are forced to write down the values of unsold homes and land all over the country.
 

World transits at this time in autumn 2007 continue to indicate a strongly negative market as Saturn rises in the east at sunrise through the fall season months leading to the holiday season in December.

 
By the time mid-December 2007 arrives, much of the damage of the Panic of 2007 will have been done. At that time in December, world transits will translate into a series of global transits that will “fix” the market crisis into a more prolonged state, resulting in widespread anger at the those responsible with blame thrown at international bankers, those involved in financial and mortgage fraud, and politicians, who are now beginning to realize that the results of the Panic of 2007 will play out dramatically in 2008 ~ a major election year in the United States.
 
Those who are feeling the pinch are advised to circle the wagons, and to protect their interests through the autumn months of 2007, while planning for courses of action in 2008.
 
Transits ahead show that despite the crushing effects of the credit crunch due to the bursting of the mortgage-lending bubble and housing industry, that opportunities will abound in 2008 to offset some of the damage. However, there is still more bad economic news ahead during the fall of 2007.
 
It is important not to allow the coming Christmas season feel like a depression; although it may “seem” that way, it is as a result of the greed of others. The transit of Mars in tropical Cancer (men at home) will cause some upsetting moments because of the resulting downturn in the economy. The transit of Mars from the end of September 2007 through to early May 2008, overall, indicates the need to “readjust” and to “reassess” one’s career, location, and place in the family.
 
This will be painful for many who have not planned on the end of 2007 being this way, however, by the time mid-December 2007 arrives, it will be apparent that important life-changes are taking place for many millions of families who have lost, or will be losing homes.
 
Handling anger, and disappointment properly, while not allowing the emotions to cloud the judgment is critical. This is because of the coming world changes in transits by December 2007, and the new year of 2008, which will result in major changes for millions upon millions of people throughout the world.
 
 
At this time of writing (mid-September 2007) there is still time to prepare for these world transits. The months of October, and November 2007 will be the most difficult ~ leading to further changes, and upsets in the month of December, before the ingress of Jupiter into tropical Capricorn and the translation of the Lunar Nodes from mutable to fixed quality at the same time in mid-December 2007.
 
One of the results of the Panic of 2007 will to make many people more politically-oriented, as sides are taken, and candidates running for office will be closely scrutinized for their policies ~ especially relating to the economy, and the war in Iraq.
 
Saturn’s transit near the South Lunar Node over autumn 2007 and into winter 2008 strongly indicates that the so-called “sub-prime” crisis will crystallize into a major call for regulation throughout the economic climate of the United States.
 
It is strongly advised for those seeking to navigate these challenging times in world transits, and the resulting world events, to take it easy through the months leading to the end of December 2007. Do the best one can by networking with others, sharing, bartering, and planning for action in 2008.
 
Re-adjustments are required, and a new outlook on the future will be mandated. These are times to grow stronger in spirit, to love one another, and to keep a close eye on those whose only so-called “love” is corruption, materialistic greed and ignorance.
 
Remember that those kind of people have the worst of all possibilities coming to them in the future, and that their lack of humanity, justice, understanding, and love will come back to bite them in a manner that they have not considered.
 
Have faith in those forces of love that are watching these individuals, and groups ~ because they are being closely watched ~ and their names, and their crimes ~ the things that their own hands have brought forth ~ are being written in a book that cannot be destroyed.
 
Peace,
Theodore White, CSA
astro730@yahoo.com

 OTHER ARTICLE BY THEODORE WHITE:   

THE CHALLENGING TRANSITS OF AUTUMN 2007
How to Survive & Prosper
    

                

 

 

     

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