) -- The markets turned violently to the downside Wednesday on French bank worries.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average

plunged 519.83, or 4.62%, to 10,719.94. The

S&P 500

fell 51.77, or 4.42%, to 1120.76. The


dropped 101.47, or 4.09%, to 2381.05.

Melissa Lee, the moderator of


's "Fast Money" TV show, said the S&P is 3 percent away from a bear market.

Tim Seymour warned investors to get out of the way of a market that feels futures driven and is not trading by the fundamentals. He said investors were hostage today of late-day moves by levered ETFs and futures.

Dennis Gartman agreed, saying investors should "hide" and "get to the sidelines." He said the market is so unpredictable and explosive it can go anywhere, noting the S&P at one point moved 20 handles in 20 to 30 minutes.

Gartman added that the swings were occurring in all the markets, not just equities.

For a breakout of some stocks from a recent "Fast Money" TV show, check out Dan Fitzpatrick's "3 Stocks I Saw on TV."

3 Stocks I Saw on TV

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Seymour said it's "scary" when you can make the case for the S&P both at 900 and 1275 at the end of this month.

Dan Nathan said options traders were scrambling to buy protection on a day when the VIX shot above 40.

Karen Finerman said she took out her buy list and bought some


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shares, even though it required her to chase it to $30.28. She said she was happy to own it, adding she was not spending her time trying to figure out the bottom of the market.

JJ Kinahan said the VIX has moved up more than 120% in three weeks and advised investors to trade a lot smaller. For example, instead of buying 200 shares of a company instead of a 1,000 shares, he said.

Lee said the financials took it on the chin, especially

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) Report

which "fell off a cliff" in the last hour of trading. Seymour said it's amazing to see Goldman, which was down 8.82% today, at 10% discount to tangible book value.

Turning to

Bank of America

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, which was down 11% today, Paul Miller, an analyst with FBR Capital Markets, commented on a report that bank was in talks to sell its stake in a Chinese bank. He said it was a good step because it will free up $12 billion of capital.

He said investors are still trying to figure out what the bank's liabilities are and what its business model will look like after it has dealt with them. He said his favorite bank in the financial space is

Wells Fargo

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, which he said is going to report some "tremendous" numbers from its mortgage banking business.

For a technical perspective of the market's convulsive behavior, Carter Worth, a chartist with Oppenheimer & Co., said the violent market behavior is signaling a significant break in a upward trend in the markets since March 2009. He said the big question for investors now is to figure out whether the market is on a secular bear trend or a secular bull trend. "Where the dust settles is anyone's guess."

Herb Greenberg,


senior stocks commentator, noted a wave of insider buying by corporate executives, who either are positioning or seeing value. He said the takeaway for investors is something along the lines that it's a buying opportunity if you think it's 2008 and it's not if you think it's 1974.

Is it safe to be in gold after it rose above $1,800 an ounce today? Rich Ilczyszyn, of Lind-Waldock, said that with gold up $100 in three days, investors are wrong in thinking of gold as a safe-haven play. He said it's run up too high, too fast, adding he would take a profit or maybe go short.

Gartman agreed, saying it's a disconcerting to see a cab driver buying gold. He said he's a lot less bullish on gold and talked about cutting his position in half. He agreed with Ilcyszcyn that the CME may step in and raise margins.

Turning to


(CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems, Inc. Report

, which was up 5.16% in afterhours trading on a strong-than-expected earnings report, Brian Marshall, of Gleacher & Co., who upgraded the stock today, said the company turned in a good report. He said investors will be looking ahead to analysts day in September to see what Cisco is going to say about reinvigorating its product portfolio.

Looking at some names that bucked today's slide, Lee mentioned some retail names, including


(M) - Get Macy's Inc Report

. Finerman said the retailer looks very good, despite seeing its stock down for the day. Gartman said high-end spending will probably be curtailed on the heels of the market crash. "The world has changed a lot."

In the final trades, Kinahan said he was a seller of Apple 300 puts. Seymour said he liked the gold miners. Nathan favored collaring long positions in

SPDR Gold Trust

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. Finerman reiterated her preference for Disney. And Gartman suspects the Bank of Japan may intervene, in which case he would sell the yen short.

--Written by David Tong in San Francisco.

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