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Biggest 2 Day Decline Since '87

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BIGGEST 2-DAY DECLINE SINCE '87

Stocks sold off on Thursday in their worst two-day slide since October 1987 with disappointing corporate outlooks and bleak sales from major retailers fueling fears of a deepening economic downturn.

Underscoring concerns about anemic consumer spending heading into the holiday season, retail chains posted the worst monthly sales data in more than three decades as consumers, beleaguered by the financial crisis, slashed spending in October.

Cautious investors also looked ahead to Friday's jobs payroll data, which is expected to further underscore the weakening economy after weekly jobless claims fell but still showed serious labor market strains

Strategy Session with the Fast Money Traders

Things are quite grim, says Karen Finerman. Really the negative news out of steel makerArcelorMittal on Wednesday began dragging the market lower and it just went from there.

This is a traders' market, says Tim Seymour. In other words, rent but don’t own.

The volatility spiked on Thursday, adds Pete Najarian. The fear factor is rising on Wall Street. And on a related note Goldman has been a market “tell.” Whatever Goldman stock does, the market seems to do too, he muses.

It’s just a horror movie that I don’t want to watch, exclaims Jeff Macke. I think you can either do nothing or pick a few names and trade them carefully. I took off my Toyota short position and I put on a long position in Burlington Northern .

Markets don’t like uncertainty, adds Najarian. Right now the market is looking at the Obama administration and wondering how he’s going to run the country.

That’s a very important point, adds Finerman. The market can handle anything when there's certainty. But when there's uncertainty it will just price in the very worst case scenario.

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OCTOBER RETAIL NIGHTMARE

Retailers suffered through the weakest October in at least 39 years, despite frenzied price cutting as they desperately try to pull in consumers who are too worried about their finances to shop.

The sales tallies from major retailers on Thursday suggests that shoppers will remain skittish through the holiday season, buying presents for children but not much else.

One of the few bright spots was Wal-Mart , whose results show how much frugal consumers are focusing on necessities. The world's largest retailer also said it will cut prices on items from toys to laptops over the next seven weeks. Department store J.C.Penney Co. is also offering extended hours and markdowns of up to 60 percent this weekend.

Click here to find out how Jeff Macke and retail analyst Howard Davidowitz recommend trading retail.

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THE GLOBE IS IN TROUBLE

The Bank of England shocked the financial world with 1.5 percentage point cut in interest rates on Thursday. The move brings its rate to just 3 percent, which is its lowest level in more than half a century.

Meanwhile the ECB also cut interest rates but by 50 bps, which was widely anticipated.






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Trader disclosure: On Nov. 6, 2008, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Macke Owns (DIS), (BNI), (MSFT), (SDS), (UUP), (WMT); Finerman's Firm Owns (MSFT); Finerman's Firm Owns (OIH) Puts; Finerman's Firm Is Short (IYR), (IJR), (MDY), (IWM), (SPY), (USO), (USO); Najarian Owns (MBI) Put Spread; Najarian Owns (MSFT) And Is Short (MSFT) Calls; Najarian Owns (YHOO) And Is Short (YHOO) Calls; Seymour Owns (AAPL), (BAC), (EEM), (F), (MER); Seygem Asset Management Owns (EEV)

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CNBC.com with wires