Updated from 12:21 p.m. EDT

Remember Volatility?

( At 5:35 p.m. EDT)

I occasionally wonder if people who don't trade every day or cover the market for a living are aware of how frustrating it can be to try to keep up with the intraday movements and reversals. Sometimes what happens makes sense, other times it doesn't.

The explanation for why stocks choose a direction on a given day can be simple and neat, but it isn't always. The market doesn't have to follow a set of rules or fit into readily definable categories. Today was one of those days. Upbeat open, selloff in the afternoon, rally in the closing minutes. Not the stuff for novices.

When all was said and done, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was in positive territory for the day, up 89.84 points, or 1.2%, at 7749.81. Of the 30 stocks, 20 rose.

JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) was the top component, rising 8.2% to $28.56. Other leading percentage gainers were Bank of America ( BAC), up 6.7% to $7.70, and Alcoa ( AA), better by 5.5% at $7.72.

General Motors ( GM) had the steepest drop, falling 6.6% to $2.99.

Did a sluggish Treasury auction really send the bulls in retreat in the afternoon? Was it just profit-taking? Did that brief pullback lure in those who missed that 1,000-point move in the last two weeks? Ultimately why we got here probably doesn't even matter.

The Dow was up when the closing bell rang. On this day, the final vote suggested stocks have more room to run, that betting on the short side isn't nearly as safe and easy as it was a month ago, that there are serious questions about believing the prevailing direction is down.

The Buyers Are Back

( At 11:40 a.m. EDT)

Housing looking a little better. Durable goods orders strong. Shame on you, doubters of the U.S. economy.

Fine, maybe we've got a couple of anomalies. It's a mirage. Lurking underneath is nothing but trouble, so don't get fooled. Could be, though I'm inclined to think we are getting a few signs that things, even if they aren't noticeably improving, are at least no longer apocalyptic.

Doesn't look like I'm alone in that. I don't trade stocks for a living. People who do have sent the Dow up more than 1,000 points since March 9. That's not all fake. We've had some short-covering, some not wanting to be left behind, but there are folks out there who have been around the market for a lot longer than me who make a pretty good case that what's happening here is real.

All is not well. No question about it. However, all is not completely horrible, either, and that's being reflected in stocks.

This time, the Dow was up 148 points at 7808, as all but four of its 30 components rose. Bank of America ( BAC) was having the best session, rising 7.5% to $7.76. That was followed by a 6.7% gain in Alcoa ( AA) to $7.82 and a 5.4% increase in JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) to $27.83. GE ( GE) was better by 4.5%.

Merck ( MRK), GM ( GM), AT&T ( T) and Verizon ( VZ) were the only names on the downside, but the losses were minor with the exception of the carmaker, which slipped 4.1% to $3.07.

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