'Fast Money' Recap: The Retail Blues

The trading panel discussed the big drop in Wal-Mart stock.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average reeled Thursday from troublesome sales numbers from Wal-Mart (WMT) - Get Report before regaining some ground.

At the close the Dow was off 27.74, or 0.31%, to 8742.42, while the

S&P 500

rose 3.08, or 0.34%, to 909.73. The


added 17.95, or 1.12%, to 1,617.01.

Jeff Macke, who has been long on Wal-Mart, said on


's "Fast Money" TV said that unlike other retailers, he liked the company because it has not whined about variables such as weather, economy or gas prices.

Now, he said he's worried because Wal-Mart, which fell 7.5% today, has guided down twice this quarter, missed its sales estimate in December and bungled the Lee Scott transition. Scott is stepping down as CEO in February.

Pete Najarian didn't think Wal-Mart's performance was that bad and suggested the decline in the stock will offer investors a chance to get in and buy the stock. He also recommended checking out


(TGT) - Get Report


Margaret Brennan, a reporter for CNBC, agreed with Najarian's assessment, noting that Wal-Mart still saw sales growth despite a terrible retail environment. The sad fact is there are "fewer dollars to be spent at any store," she said.

Oil fell to $47.10 a barrel, prompting Guy Adami to note that the commodity has made a "monster" move recently, rising from $35 to $50. He expects it to trade down to $38 and suggested that weak economic data may have something to do with the decline, although he suspected traders just got ahead of themselves in pushing it up.

Najarian said airline stocks continue to look good with oil at such low price level.

Dylan Ratigan, the moderator of the show, shifted the discussion to President-elect Barack Obama's comments earlier in that day that he would double alternative energy production.

Under those circumstances, Seymour said he liked

Solafun Power



First Solar

(FSLR) - Get Report

. Adami said he liked



for its nuclear business.

In the options corner, Najarian told viewers to keep an eye on



, which is a partner with


(BIIB) - Get Report

. He said there was heavy options activity today in Elan.

Ratigan shifted the discussion to one of the big business stories of the day that involved

Citigroup (C) - Get Report

(C) - Get Report

signing a deal with top Democrats in the Senate that would allow bankruptcy court judges to modify the terms of distressed mortgages.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D, New York) called the deal a "breakthrough" that could help 60% to 70% of the homeowners threatened with foreclosure. With Citigroup breaking the dam, Schumer expects the banking industry to get behind the deal and believes there is a "real chance" to get it in the stimulus bill.

With the jobless report coming out Friday, Ratigan asked Tony Crescenzi, a market strategist for Miller Tabak, for his observations. Crescenz said that while the expected large jobless figure may produce "scary headlines," it also shows companies are making rapid adjustments in their payrolls to deal with the economic downturn. And he expects these adjustments will be deep and substantial in the next few months before the situation begins to subside.

He said a better indicator of where the economy is heading is the sales of good and services. For example, he said that a rise in auto sales in January could lead to increases in production of steel and other materials.

Macke, though, expressed doubts whether GMAC, the auto financing arm of

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

could stimulate the economy.

Joe Terranova told Ratigan said investors should be wary about getting into oil because oil prices are still in a very deflationary environment and haven't been able to crack the 50-day moving average.

He said a less risky bet would be to get into stocks like

National Oilwell Varco

(NOV) - Get Report



(COP) - Get Report


He also liked

CurrencyShares Canadian Dollar Trust

(FXC) - Get Report

for its exposure to oil.

In the final trades, Macke said he liked



, while Seymour and Najarian said they liked


(CSX) - Get Report


"Check out

"'Fast Money'Portfolios of the Week" on Stockpickr every Thursday.