Horoscopes for companies: Reuters will carry star guide to performance

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The Independent Online
WHEN you bought your BT shares, did you ever think to check the company's horoscope? asks Nigel Cope. When you voted in the last election, did you stop for one minute to think that a new moon in Libra might have more influence on the length of John Major's stay in power than squabbles over Maastricht or the duration of the recession?

Probably not. But according to a company that launches a new astrological service on Reuters screens next month, perhaps you should have.

From 1 November a business forecasting consultancy, Global Intelligence Agency, launches a service that will flash astrology-based forecasts across City screens that dealers usually expect to see racking up news about gold prices or pork belly futures.

Subscribers will be able to ring for the horoscope of individual companies provided they can give the company's date of registration - the equivalent of its birthday - and its location. This for example, makes Newspaper Publishing, publisher of the Independent, a Capricorn.

'What we are looking at is cycles,' said Graham Bates, the company's business and financial astrologer, who used to be a fund manager with Standard Chartered and Chemical Bank. 'Business covers more than just industry or individual companies. We are looking at how the cycles affect the economy and the markets.' Mr Bates stressed that all the astrological jargon on which the analysis will be based will be stripped out, leaving a straight piece of forecasting.

GIA has been running a trial on Reuters this week including forecasts that the German mark is due for a fall from 22 October and another that predicts that Boris Yeltsin will last the winter in power but that January will be a critical time.

The City was unsure what to make of the service. 'I'm all for a bit of light entertainment during the day but I'm not sure this is the way to do it,' one analyst said.