Dow Watch: Bank of America, Citi Plummet

Bank of America and Citigroup are the worst performers Thursday as the Dow has its lowest close since Oct. 9, 2002.
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Updated from 1:23 p.m. EST

Banks Sink Again

(At 6:10 p.m. EST)

If I told you the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

fell 89.68 points Thursday, you might not think that was too terrible. Trouble is, that was enough to leave the index at 7465.95, its lowest close since Oct. 9, 2002. That's bad.

As an aside, another Oct. 9, the one in 2007, marked the record finish for the Dow. That day, the average went out at 14,164.53. Unfortunately, since then it's lost 47.3%. That's also bad.

With the decline, the Dow has dropped six of the past eight trading days and is down 6.7% thus far in February. Since the start of the year, it's fallen 14.9%.

Once again, financials tumbled.

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

slumped to $3.93, and

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

fell to $2.51 -- both declines of some 14%.

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

slid 8.7%, and

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

decreased more than 4%.

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

, weak all day, ended down 7.9% at $31.39.

The good news is 10 of the 30 stocks managed to rise.

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

and

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

were the best performers, up 1.8% and 1.5%, respectively.

Fine, maybe that's not really good news. But this is -- tomorrow's Friday. And after that, a couple of days off from trading. Last Monday's holiday really seems like a long time ago, doesn't it?

Cold November Low

(At 1:05 p.m. EST)

The

Dow

started the session a bit higher Thursday, but lately it's been in retreat. Recently, the index was down 42 points at 7513. Obviously, that's not a steep loss for a single day, but it does put the Dow under its Nov. 20 low at 7552.29, the worst point for the measure in more than five years.

As the industrials have pulled back this year, traders have repeatedly discussed that level as one to watch. The worry is that if the Dow falls below it, selling could accelerate. We have no way of knowing that will happen of course, but considering the extreme pessimism these days, it'll be fine with me if those fears aren't put to the test.

Looking at the 30 individual stocks, breadth wasn't bad at all, as 14 rose, 15 fell, and one stock,

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, was unchanged.

DuPont

(DD) - Get Report

was the best performer, up 1.8% to $21.52.

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

was registering a 1.7% gain after the soft drinks maker lifted its quarterly dividend to 41 cents a share from 38 cents, while both

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

and

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

were up 1.6%.

However, the pain being inflicted by the laggards was more than enough to put the average in the red. On the downside were the usual suspects.

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

and

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

were getting hammered, giving back more than 10%.

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

was worse by 7%.

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

was another notable loser, dropping 7.7% to $31.47 following its

discouraging comments

after the close Wednesday. The other tech stocks on the Dow were also giving up ground.

We all know these are difficult days to be investing in equities. So what might lead to a reversal? Over on

RealMoney

, Jim Cramer says it could be

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

.