Why This Catchy Commercial Reminds Me of Our Market Narrative

There’s a great TV commercial out right now that reminded me so much of the market narrative that I have to share it with you.

The scene opens with a group of people in a living room playing a game that requires guessing.

The couple shouts out, “It’s a small finger – a worm, a dagger…”

The camera cuts to the reason for the guesses – A chart pad is in the front of the room with a teammate drawing as part of a game of Pictionary.

Only the teammate is a sloth hanging on the chart pad easel drawing a line straight down from the top of the pad, oh so s-l-o-w-l-y.

The guessing continues, “Tiny sword? A breadstick?  A matchstick?”

The camera cuts to the opposing team who smiles and looks knowingly at each other, certain that their challengers won’t guess in time.

More guessing, “A lamp post? Coin slot!”

Cut to the sloth turning his head slowly to look at its teammates as if to say, “Not even close…”

The guessers say, “No?” and the timekeeper announces, “Ten seconds!”

The final furious cavalcade of guesses, “A walking stick! The Eifel Tower! Mt Kilimanjaro!”

Then a bell dings and time is up.  The guessers grimace and growl in frustration.

The timekeeper announces the right answer, “Tandem bicycle” to screams of, “What?” as the camera pans to show the sloth still having completed only the short, straight line.

The voice over comes in and says, “As long as sloths are slow, you can count on GEICO to save you money on car insurance.”

But how does any of this relate back to The 10-Minute Millionaire?

Much like the glacial pace of the sloth featured in this commercial, our market narrative is changing.

But very s-l-o-w-l-y.

Let’s look at some reasons why the “Trump Growth” narrative has stuck around for so long…

The “Rasputin” Market – It Just Won’t Die…

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.

In addition to today being Halloween – 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…

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