Henry Weingarten, a longtime professional astrologer and founder of the New York School of Astrology, is also managing director of the
Astrologers Fund. In this role he advises private investors, traders, and leading Wall Street money managers on investment strategies and economic forecasts. His work has been featured in various publications such as the
Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Financial World, Barrons, the
Financial Times, and the New York Times.
Alexander Dake interviewed Weingarten about the role of astrology in investing, the current financial situation, and the outlook for the coming year.
AD: You used to be a computer systems designer and a professional astrologer. What made you move into financial astrology?
HW: It started with the October 1987 stock market crash. I had known about this for almost a year in advance through the forecasts of another financial astrologer. When the crash actually took place, I realized that, having been a professional astrologer since 1967, I too could use my expertise in predicting market trends. I also realized that through the use of financial astrology, astrology could receive mainstream acceptance more easily, because many more people would be following financial forecasts, as opposed to individual personal forecasts. And I did forecast a number of major events, from the Tokyo market crash to the Persian Gulf war, from the Mexican crisis to the technology collapse of 2000. Last year we forecasted that the markets would peak in March 2001, that there would be a negative GDP in September, that there would be high-profile bankruptcies and major accounting reforms. These forecasts have been noticed by more and more people and media, and have caused an increased interest in financial astrology as an investment tool.
AD: You define astrology as a mathematical psychology based on astronomy. Is it a science?
HW: It is both a science and an art, just like traditional investing or even the practice of medicine. I use a basis of fundamental financial and technical analysis, and use astrology to predict trends and to time events. Even traditional stock market analysts now accept that behavioral psychology is an important factor in explaining market movements. Financial astrology is using mathematical models to forecast these market movements. Astrology by itself is not going to make you rich, but it will allow you to make more money with less risk by combining it with traditional financial disciplines.
AD: You are receiving more and more attention from the mainstream media, in print and on TV. Does this mean that the media increasingly accept financial astrology as an investment tool or is it still a reflection of their curiosity in something exotic?
HW: Ten years ago, there was a lot of a curiosity at play. However, since then I have been invited back several times to give our views or explain our forecasts. We now have a long-term track record of very credible forecasts. The media see that our work is as good or even better than anyone elses work. The reason is that we do what everyone else does and then we do more than they do. In our forecasts there are fewer market surprises, because we take the cosmos into account. The cosmos is a factor in life and it is a .factor in the markets, and you can ignore it if you want but it might give you more understanding, especially in volatile markets.
AD: In your book Investing by the Stars you mention that your own indications are that in 1997 approximately $14 billion of investments in the U.S. and Europe are based on astrological analysis. Do you see more of an acceptance now of financial astrology than ten years ago?
HW: There still is some prejudice against astrology, but less than there has been. Smart people are independent thinkers. If you do what everybody else does, you will not have the best results. You will be a follower. That may work in the bull markets, but those are now behind us. There are financial decision-makers who know about financial astrology. They might not talk about it, but they still use it. Especially in the trading community, where timing is essential, traders use this as one of their tools. The flows now invested using astrology are substantially larger than the $14 billion I mentioned in my book. How much more is hard to say, but it is clear that in addition to the U.S. and Europe, astrology influences investors in China and India. Recently
a study from the University of Michigan Business School confirmed a strong relationship between lunar phases and stock market returns. My point is that if planetary forces influence money flows, then by definition it is a factor in the marketplace, which is worth forecasting. And thats what we do.
AD: What kind of clients do you have?
HW: Generally speaking, we have high net worth individuals as our clients. Institutions so far appear too conservative to invest with us. We do have a number of brokers, traders, analysts, and money managers who subscribe to our newsletter.
AD: What are your views on the financial events of the last two years, from the burst of the Internet and technology bubble, to the advent of the Euro, from the 9-11 tragedy to the Enron scandal?
HW: We have seen major excesses in the late 90s. People who believed that that would continue were clearly deluded. We had foreseen the Saturn cycle of May 2000, which indicated that we would return to times when profits would matter again. Till that moment companies that had no profits had far outperformed companies that did show profits, something that is clearly unsustainable. Last August we saw the start of the Saturn-Pluto cycle that indicated the fear and gloom of which we are now in the last stages.
AD: What do you expect for 2002?
HW: In June we will be entering a more expansive Jupiter-Neptune cycle. We will actually experience a bull market later this year that will continue into 2003. However, we might again experience irrational exuberance, but now mostly in the biotech sector. It will be similar to the Internet boom: Nobody really understands the sector, but they want to believe that one of those biotech companies will become a huge success. Some signs of a new boom are already visible. A case in point is
JetBlue Airways, a small new airline of only 24 airplanes that after going public this April now has a market value of $1.9 billion, three times as large as
United Airlines, one of the largest airlines in the world.
AD: Any other forecasts?
HW: Besides biotech funds as Merrill Lynchs Biotech Holders
and iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology Index Fund, I am bullish on
IBM; consumer electronic companies such as
Sony, Samsung and
gold. I expect the Euro to strengthen further towards the dollar. The Euro should be between $0.92 and $1.01 at its highest. The U.S. trade deficit is just too high. I am quite positive about Japan finally recovering. As far as emerging markets go, I believe India is the place to be: a country not only with great potential but also with an increasingly wealthy middle class.
AD: Many people have been questioning how to deal with their financial future in uncertain times. In
Investing by the Stars you state: the pursuit of money in itself is vain. Learning how to connect money with your inner spiritual self will allow you to overcome anxiety and lead to a happier, healthier, and more prosperous life, one that is connected with a higher purpose. How does astrology help in achieving this?
HW: Most people earn their living by working and there are studies that claim that 60 percent to 80 percent of us are unhappy in the workplace. One of the most important functions of astrology is to help you find out what you could do to earn your living. Many people follow parental or societal desires, which may not be the best for you. A reputable astrologer can help you clarify this path, and can also help you in determining which investment approach fits best with you personally. Besides aligning your work and financial life with your personality, common sense is the best advisor in investing: follow a balanced value-growth approach, have a diversified portfolio across countries, and have a long-term outlook.
Books by Henry Weingarten:
Investing by the Stars
Social Investment Forum
National Association of Personal Financial Advisors
The Meaning of Money in the 21st Century, an interview with Jacob Needleman
© 2002, Alexander M. Dake