“If you look at life one way, there is always cause for alarm.”  -Elizabeth Bowen, Irish novelist That the economy is ailing is no surprise to anyone.  Unemployment statistics, additional corporate layoffs, and earnings disappointments are part of every news segment.  While there is plenty of support for the negative case, there is also cause for optimism.  Many strategists are now saying that the market is at or near the bottom.  They say that it is too late to be defensive in portfolio makeup, and that the risk/reward ratio now favors being more invested in equities than bonds.  Even the mostly pessimistic Morgan Stanley strategist, Barton Biggs came out last week in favor of buying stocks now.  The economists at Credit Suisse First Boston make the following points;