We're seeing a familiar trend, and thats no trend. Any good news quickly evaporates as we continue to get nailed by economic data, and poor outlooks from financial stocks. It has been pretty easy to spot. I haven't advocated buying banks at all, and I still don't. I see the market re-tracing downward again as we'll probably see another bank-related panic. Will the Fed provide a backstop once again? Probably. I'd say it will probably involve Fannie or Freddie.
As I've said before, the real problem with investing in many of these companies isn't that they'll go under, its their outlook for the future. Companies like Citigroup and Merrill and Lehman have leveraged so much of their future, and eroded their competitive advantages just to stay afloat now. Sure, it had to be done, but you shouldn't buy their stock just because it looks like they won't collapse.
I think the time to buy will be on the next major leg down. You'll know it because you'll feel like you're ready to throw in the towel. You'll feel like nothing works in this market, and the outlook is bad for everything. Some people might already feel this way, but when most feel this way, then you can find some bargains.
The outlook for solar has strengthened, and should only get better. The good news here, is many of the solar stocks have come back down out of the stratosphere, and could be bought. I haven't researched them enough to make any recommendations, but I'll take a look at it.
So is it time to buy? In a word, NO.