Updated from 12:06 p.m. EDT

Let's Think About Tomorrow

( At 4:56 p.m. EDT)

Hard as it might be to believe, the first quarter of 2009 is already over. The first two months of the year were forgettable for most of us who need the market to go up in order to retire one day, while March let us consider the possibility that we might actually have a few dollars left when we decide to call it a career.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded higher Tuesday, adding 86.90 points, or 1.2%, to 7608.92. Good to see us end on a high note, though the downside is the index went out well below its best level of the session. Maybe the mark-up crowd went to work after all.

At the end of the day, 23 of the Dow's 30 stocks were up, paced by a 13.1% gain in Bank of America ( BAC) to $6.82. Alcoa ( AA) and Citigroup ( C) were better by more than 9% each.

Most of the losses were marginal, with the exception of General Motors ( GM), which got worse and worse as the day wore on and finished down 28.2% at $1.94. Not really surprising when the CEO of the company is out saying bankruptcy is an option.

You have to admire his candor, but if you own the common stock you also have to be thinking about how long you want to stick around. Fritz Henderson certainly has had a pretty eventful two days at the helm of GM.

For the month, the Dow rose nearly 546 points, or 7.7%, its first such advance since August and its best month since October 2002.

However, the quarter saw the industrials give back 1167 points, a drop of 13.3% and the sixth straight quarterly pullback. That also made for the sharpest first-quarter decrease since 1939.

Now it's time to get ready for earnings. Or losses. Either way, we're about to get flooded with results and outlooks. Those numbers may well go a long way toward determining if the second three months are better than the first. Or if they're not.

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