Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • After Wednesday's gains, the Nasdaq has finished higher for five straight sessions.
  • The U.S. added 235,000 private jobs in February, according to ADP, topping economists' estimates of 195,000.
  • The U.S. trade deficit rose 5% to $56.6 billion in January, the highest level since October 2008.

Wall Street Overview

Stocks fell on Wednesday, March 7, after Gary Cohn, the head of Donald Trump's National Economic Council, resigned and investors braced for what could be an escalating global trade war.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 82 points, or 0.33%. The S&P 500 declined 0.05% and the Nasdaq was up 0.33%.

Leading the Dow lower were Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) - Get Report , Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) - Get Report and General Electric Co. (GE) - Get Report .

Cohn abruptly left the White House on Tuesday, March 6, after failing to convince Trump to reverse plans for import tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Cohn was seen as a staunch advocate for free trade who has clashed with the president on a number of issues during his tenure at the White House. Cohn reportedly was unable to publicly support Trump's plans to slap a 25% levy on imported steel and a 10% tariff on non-American aluminum.

TheStreet's founder, Jim Cramer, told Action Alerts Plus investment club members that Cohn's departure will "put a lot of pressure" on the market, revealing several reasons why here.

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The U.S. added 235,000 private jobs in February, according to ADP's National Employment Report, topping economists' estimates of 195,000.

"The market may not know how to interpret tariff talk or the Cohn resignation, but it may appreciate what it sees with these ADP numbers," said Mike Loewengart, vice president of investment strategy for E*Trade Financial Corp. "The past few months, these numbers have been nothing if not consistent and (Wednesday's) didn't disappoint.

"Yet the most interesting thing about these numbers is what will come next as the market reacts: Are we in a market driven by accommodative (Federal Reserve) policy, or driven by economic strength? Is what's good for the economy good for equities, or do strong jobs numbers like these predict a more hawkish Fed, which will hurt the markets?, Loewengart asked.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF) - Get Report  jumped 11% after the retailer reported fourth-quarter earnings and sales that topped analysts' expectations. The company also forecast fiscal 2018 same-store sales and sales growth in the low-single digits.

Dollar Tree Inc. (DLTR) - Get Report shares fell 14% after the discount retailer's fourth-quarter earnings and sales missed Wall Street estimates.

Oprah Winfrey sold some of her stock in Weight Watchers International Inc. (WTW) - Get Report and donated a small portion to her philanthropic foundation.

Winfrey, a Weight Watchers board member, retains more than 75% of her holdings in the company and won't sell additional shares this year, said a statement from Harpo Inc., Winfrey's production company. The stock was up 4%.

Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN) - Get Report  rose 0.24% on Wednesday after the company reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings that topped Wall Street forecasts but a bottom line that slumped because of the new U.S. tax law.

Net income in the fourth quarter was $1.3 million, or 1 cent a share, down sharply from year-earlier earnings of 55 cents. The retailer recorded a $64.7 million tax charge for repatriation and a write-down of deferred tax assets related to changes in U.S. tax law.

H&R Block Inc. (HRB) - Get Report rose 11% after fiscal third-quarter revenue of $488 million came in above expectations.