Isaac Newton is famously believed to have said that he could predict the motions of heavenly bodies but not the madness of crowds that had lost a fortune in the stock market.
But now investors are increasingly turning to astrologers in the motions of planets to help them with their trading strategies amid a see-sawing market.
The spread of Covid-19 and the accompanying mayhem caused the S&P BSE Sensex to drop over 38.5 per cent from its all-time high of 42,273.9 to a low of 25,981.2 on March 23.
Those in the astrology and even numerology segments received more calls than before during the time.
Anant Acharya, independent trader and advisor, says he is receiving hundreds of calls, asking for advice on the market. So much so that he skips some calls. He offers views based on a mix of astrology and astronomy, with technical analysis thrown in, to predict where the markets will go. His clients include high net-worth individuals and traders looking to understand what’s happening. There is no dearth of such people now.
“In the past one month, there has been a large increase,” he said.
Sanjay B Jumaani, who describes himself as an astro-numerologist, says he has seen a 25-30 per cent increase in the number of calls in spite of the fact that he had to keep his office shut because of Covid-19. A lot of his meetings now happen through video-conferencing.
Demand suggests he would have more clients coming in if the illness did not exclude public movement.
“The numbers would be even higher,” he said.
Those who have approached him include people from the fund management industry too, he said. He typically asks people to buy different asset classes based on what might suit them astrologically (for example, someone who is associated with earth astrologically may do better with property than others, according to him).
So a family looking to buy property is asked to purchase it in the name of the family member who is astrologically better suited to owning the asset. Such advice is not for fund managers since they can have hundreds of clients per scheme with as many different dates of birth. Those in the fund management industry are therefore offered more generic advice such as which sector may do well, and the general market direction, he said.
Deven Choksey is managing director of KRChoksey Investment Managers and a market veteran. He says people may be turning to such advice because of the prevailing atmosphere of fear about what is happening. While everything has its place, he believes that investing success may depend more on better understanding the tangible issues surrounding the operations of a firm.
“I think what prevails is the fundamental aspect of the company and the business,” he said.
The search for answers through astrology does not seem restricted to the market. There seems an increasing attempt to seek it out in India, shows the data from Google Trends, which tracks what people are searching for on the internet. The search term “astrology” has seen a surge in India since the middle of March.
The last available data for the week ended April 12 shows a value of 100, suggesting that India’s searches for astrology have peaked compared to the period under consideration. It was at 59 for the week ended March 1.