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The last Tsar of Imperial Russia had a family secret.
Nicholas II, Tsar of Russia, and Alexandra Feodorovna, Empress of Russia, had four lovely girls before their lone son – Alexei, the Tsarevich – was born in 1904.
Alexei, the heir to the throne, was born with the genetic disorder hemophilia. This malady is also called "the bleeding disease" because one's blood doesn't clot normally.
The young prince's hemophilia was so severe that a nosebleed or even a bruise could be life-threatening.
The situation overwhelmed his mother's life.
So when the mystical Siberian peasant Rasputin appeared in St. Petersburg and offered to heal the Tsarevich, Alexandra received fresh hope.
And when the so-called monk's activities actually seemed to heal the boy, he became part of the royal family's inner circle.
Rasputin, though he studied briefly at a Russian Orthodox monastery, never received holy orders as a priest or a monk.
And as a well-known serial womanizer and drunkard, he certainly had his dark side.
The influence that this mysterious peasant had on the Tsar and the Tsarina soon became too much for the others in the royal family to bear.
A group of royals, including the richest man in Russia, Prince Felix Yusupov, plotted to lure Rasputin to one of Yusupov's castles to poison him.
With the aid of physician (ostensibly to get the dosage right), the assassination plot initially went off without a hitch.
Rasputin ate not one but two small cakes – each laced with enough potassium cyanide to kill several men, according to the physician. But instead of keeling over dead, Rasputin asked for wine – which had also been dosed with more potassium cyanide!
In a panic, Yusupov excused himself, procured a Browning revolver, returned and shot the "Mad Monk" at point-blank range.
Even though the physician pronounced him dead, when Yusupov returned to contemplate disposing of the body, Rasputin awakened and lunged at him. Yusupov stabbed him multiple times in the tussle, yet Rasputin escaped across the courtyard, where he was again shot twice, this time from a distance.
Once again on the ground, he was clubbed multiple times in the head. Finally, he was wrapped in a curtain and tossed into the Nevka River.
Three days later, his body was found. An autopsy revealed that his lungs were filled with water.
So Grigori Rasputin – his body beaten, stabbed, and riddled with bullet holes, his bloodstream packed with poison – had died by drowning.
Why I am sharing this macabre tale?
Because much like the madman Rasputin, this stock market just won't die.
Let's look at three reasons why people think this market should give up the ghost…
The Market's "Death Knells"
Think about it.
The Fed's raising rates and early attempts at "The Great Unwind" have not been able to kill the bull market.
Old age has not been able to kill the bull market.
High prices have not been able to kill the market.
Since nothing seems capable of stopping the markets from grinding higher, let's look at each of these potential market "death knells."
Federal Reserve Rate Hikes
After the March 2017 rate hike by the Fed, some analysts were writing about the "three steps and a stumble" theory, noting that markets have historically fallen after the third rate hike by the Fed.
But as this chart shows, while this was the case in the 1950s and 1960s, over the past 40 years, the market has fallen significantly only two out of six times following a third consecutive rate hike:
In this chart, the red numbers show when the market dropped after a third consecutive rate hike, and the blue numbers show when the market continued to move up.
The last little red circle in the upper right was the third rate hike that occurred in March 2017. Since then, we had a fourth interest rate hike in June, and the S&P 500 has moved up more than 8%.
So it looks like we can safely say that five out of the last seven "third consecutive rate hikes" have seen the market move higher.
And the Fed has not yet been able to kill this bull market.
How Old Is Too Old?
One of the biggest comments I see about this bull market relates to its age.
About the Author
Nationally recognized technical trader. Background in engineering, system designs, and risk reduction. 26 years in the markets.