The markets continued to be plagued Thursday by uncertainty in bank stocks.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 89.68, or 1.19%, to 7,465.95, while the S&P 500 lost 9.48, or 1.2%, to 778.94. The Nasdaq fell 25.15, or 1.7%, to 1,442.82. Dylan Ratigan, the moderator of the CNBC's "Fast Money" TV show, said the Dow, which has fallen to its lowest level since October 2002, continues to plunge as the market searches for answers from the banks. "The banks, the banks, the banks. It's like Groundhog Day here," he said in exasperation. Pete Najarian said the outlook looks bleak, with noted banking analyst Meredith Whitney saying the banks are heading down even further. Tim Seymour said the insurers are taking in on the chin as well, including Prudential Financial ( PRU), which no longer will have access to commercial paper. Joe Terranova attributed the weakness of the stocks to weak consumer spending and the continued decline in home prices. From a valuation standpoint, Terranova said these stocks have fallen to a level that's unimaginable. He noted, for example, US Bancorp ( USB), which has fallen to $10. Karen Finerman noted that investors in Bank of America ( BAC) are better off in the preferred stock than in the common equity. Najarian said there are still opportunities in the troubled financial sector, noting in particular Visa ( V) and Northern Trust ( NTRS). Ratigan shifted the discussion to oil, which jumped 14% on Thursday. Terranova said oil prices appear to be stabilizing at $35 to $40. "That doesn't mean it will run up to $60, but it does mean the short trade is over," he said.