Cheers and applause erupted at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) when last Monday its new spacecraft probe, called InSight, landed on Mars often referred to as the ‘Red planet’ due to the simple fact the planet appears red in colour. The spacecraft is designed to measure seismic activity (such as quakes and tremors) and in doing so NASA is hoping to find out how the planet was formed billions of years ago and, by extension, how other rocky planets like Earth took shape. Although Mars and Earth are thought to have formed at about the same time, they evolved to become very different. While Earth is home to many lifeforms the question if life exists on Mars remains to date unanswered. So, it is fair to say that Mars plays a pivotal role in expanding the human presence deeper into the solar system. Did you know that according to financial astronomers the position of Mars and other planets also play a pivotal role in stock market behaviour and can affect share prices? This branch of astronomy, also known as astro-economics, is the study of the link between the movements and interactions of the planets with market behaviour. It is used to forecast market trends in stocks by using corporation charts with special astronomical techniques and has quite a following in the stock trader community. According to financial astronomy, each planet represents a certain type of behaviour: Jupiter is known as the ‘money’ planet and associated with growth, expansion and success so linked with rising or bull markets; Saturn is ‘change’ and associated with downturns, pressure and low confidence and linked with declining or bear markets; Mars is the planet of energy, activity, strength and speed….
Last trading week both Saturn and Jupiter seemed to have had the biggest impact on market behaviour. At the beginning of the week, stock market sentiment felt some ‘Saturn’ pressure after US President Trump threatened to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25% (from the current 10%) and to apply a further round of levies on $267 billion worth of imports starting next year only adding to the uncertainty of finding a solution in the current U.S. -China trade war. On Wednesday however investors felt the presence of ‘Jupiter’ when equity markets rose after Jay Powell, chairman of the US Federal Reserve (Fed), said the central bank's policy rate is now "just below the broad range of estimates of the level that would be neutral for the US economy’. This was interpreted by many investors as a sign the Fed's three-year tightening cycle with rising interest rates is drawing to a close and triggered an over 600 points jump in the Dow Jones Index. On Friday, the final day of November, shares across Europe remained stable with markets turning their attention to the highly anticipated G20 summit in Argentina where the world's two largest economies (US & China) met in hopes to resolve the ongoing trade dispute.
At the end of last trading week, the Ageas share closed at EUR 42.64 or -0.5%. Although past week’s performance of the Ageas share was below the reference indices, so far in 2018 it is up +4.7% outperforming the Eurostoxx 50 (-9.5% year-to-date) and the European SXIP 600 Insurance Index (-4% year-to-date).