Updated from 1:36 p.m. EDT

Let's Make It Easy

( At 12:15 p.m. EDT)

Not all is well. Talk about an understatement. Everything is horrible. Couldn't be worse. Run for the hills, and stock the caves.

Here's just a little evidence from the past few days that this downturn refuses to give up its hold. American Express ( AXP) said Monday it would cut 4,000 jobs. Nobody liked Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) after it failed to say that tech land was about to see a sharp rebound. Weekly jobless claims edged lower, but were still well above 600,000, and continuing claims rose to a new record. Mixed commentary from the Federal Reserve.

Bad, folks. Nothing to like here. You'd have to be pretty foolish to want anything to do with equities.

One click away over on RealMoney you'll find plenty of experts telling you why you have to beware of the rally of the past two months. The time has come for those of us who aren't on board to join them. Let's go.

There. It certainly is more rewarding to say it's all over. Look at the market. It knows. The Dow lost some 130 points to 8292. Only seven of its 30 stocks were up. That should answer all your questions.

Wait a second. Go back to September, a mere eight months ago. Every day it seemed another decades-old Wall Street institution was in danger of, or in fact was, vanishing off the face of the earth. At its worst, it felt like the nation itself, or at least its economic system, was on the verge of collapse. Terrifying.

Think now about how far we've come. Do you truly appreciate that the worst-case scenario has been averted? We've survived the stress tests. Banks that need to raise capital are raising capital. Firms of all sizes are looking for ways to repay the TARP. I've said it before, though it bears repeating, the doomsday scenario is over.

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