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Consumer in the Crosshairs

Guess who will be caught in the crosshairs next week. You! Consumer confidence is down, gas prices are jumping and the housing market is cracking. And next week, major retail chains including JC Penney, Macy’s and Target will give winter sales figures. It’s judgement week for the consumer and retail stocks. Will they rescue this market or drag it down?

Erin Burnett said on top of those major retail chains, wholesale giant Costco along with high-end Department store Saks , will report earnings next week, and the government will be releasing an unemployment report.

Jeff Macke, the show's retail specialist, says the higher gas prices are a cue to get out of the frothy retailers. Macke likes Costco over the longer term, but wouldn't be buying that now either.

Strazzini said if this downturn continues people will get tighter with their purse strings.

Erin Burnett asked asked how to do you money off gas prices going higher?

Eric Bolling said buy Tesoro . This is the beginning of the driving season and that paired with the aging refinery infrastructure and should keep gas prices high.

Guy Adami added, “A great turnaround for late ‘06 and I think also one for ’07 is Saks. I wouldn’t own Saks before earnings. But I like Saks.”

Erin Burnett said the bottom line is you might want to pull back in retail, and Eric Bolling says buy Tesoro.

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Trader disclosure:
On MAR 2, 2007, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders.
Strazzini: Gold,(MER), WMT, YHOO
Bolling: Gold, Silver, Soybeans, Short Corn, (NMX), (ICE), short Nasdaq, short S&P Futures

Questions? Comments? fastmoney@cnbc.com

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