Not only is this a rough time for the market because of volatile oil prices, an uncertain interest rate picture, and the specter of more violence in the Middle East, but it's also earnings season. Yippee!

Mash all those things together, and we're on a Wall Street roller coaster. Wrigley (NYSE:WWY) announced solid earnings and a new CEO, and the stock rocketed up 14%! Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), however, cut its guidance and got dunked to the tune of 14%. Then there was SanDisk (NASDAQ:SNDK), which suffered a 20% haircut after posting disappointing profits. With earnings announcements coming from bellwethers such as (NASDAQ:AMZN), Legg Mason (NYSE:LM), ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), and Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ:SUNW) this week, who knows where the market's going to go?

It's a crazy, mixed-up world
While it can be frightening for folks to make the one-two punch of saving and investing in a crazy market, we must reiterate that now is the time for new money. Really.

Of the 534 stocks on the major exchanges capitalized north of $10 billion, fully 69 of them are trading within 15% of their 52-week-low price. That list includes such respectable businesses as Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation Costco.

Let us repeat it
Great companies with strong business prospects are currently selling for historically low prices.

Unfortunately, individual investors aren't reading the memo. According to the Money Fund Report newsletter (as quoted in The Wall Street Journal), individual investors added $10.5 billion to their money market accounts this month. In other words, that was money that individual investors were moving out of equities.

Seriously, now is the time
So rather than stash your money away to earn less than 5%, take advantage of this crazy market and put some new money to work in stocks. If you're looking for a few superior businesses worthy of your investment dollars, consider joining our Motley Fool Stock Advisor service. Fool co-founders David and Tom Gardner make specific stock recommendations and share the stocks they like best for new money now. You can try their market-beating service for free with a 30-day trial -- just follow the link for more information.

This article was originally published July 25, 2006. It has been updated.

Brian Richards and Tim Hanson recommend Now's the Time, by Charlie Parker. Neither owns shares of any company mentioned in this article. Wrigley is an Income Investor pick. is a Stock Advisor pick. It's always a good time to invest in the Fool'sdisclosure policy.