Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average remains more than 1,800 points below its all-time high set on Jan. 26.
  • The Dow and S&P 500 finished lower for a third straight session.
  • The Nasdaq has declined for two straight days after a seven-session winning streak.

Wall Street Overview

Stocks finished lower on Wednesday, March 14, as investors debated the prospects of a global trade war following the firing of Rex Tillerson as U.S. secretary of state and reports of new tariffs targeted specifically at China.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 248 points, or 0.99%. The S&P 500 declined 0.57% and the Nasdaq was down 0.19%. Leading the Dow lower were Boeing Co. (BA) and DowDuPont Inc. (DWDP) .

Stocks declined on Tuesday, March 13, triggered by the surprise sacking of Tillerson as secretary of state. The Dow finished down 171 points, or 0.68%, to 25,007. The S&P 500 slipped 0.64% and the Nasdaq fell 1.02%. Tillerson was seen as a moderate voice on trade and foreign relations inside the White House.

Sentiment also was dented by report from Reuters that Trump was targeting consumer technology and telecoms goods from China with a series of tariffs that could hit $60 billion in goods from the world's second-largest economy.

Meanwhile, economic data in the U.S. showed signs that inflation wasn't heating up in the world's largest economy.

Wholesale inflation in the U.S. in February rose 0.2%. Economists estimated the Producer Price Index would rise 0.1% last month, following a 0.4% jump in January. Producer prices have risen 2.8% in the past 12 months.

Retail sales in February fell 0.1%, the third month in a row that retail sales declined. Economists had expected an increase of 0.3%. Stripping out gas and autos, retail sales were up 0.3%.

Walmart Inc. (WMT) said Wednesday it would expand home delivery of groceries to more than 40% of U.S. households by the end of the year.

The service, which already is available in six markets -- Phoenix, Dallas, Orlando, Tampa, Denver, and San Jose -- will grow to serve more than 100 metro areas across the country, Walmart said in a press release. The stock fell 0.7% on Wednesday.

Broadcom Ltd. ( AVGO)   formally abandoned its attempt to acquire rival chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. ( QCOM) after Donald Trump blocked the deal on national security concerns.

Trump said late Monday, March 12, that he was denying Broadcom's takeover of Qualcomm.

"There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that Broadcom Limited, a limited company organized under the laws of Singapore (Broadcom) ... through exercising control of Qualcomm Incorporated (Qualcomm), a Delaware corporation, might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States," a statement from the White House read as Trump effectively blocked the contentious merger battle between the two tech titans.

Qualcomm rose 0.70%, while shares of Broadcom declined 1%.

Broadcom is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells AVGO? Learn more now. 

Tesla Inc.'s (TSLA) corporate treasurer and vice president of finance, Susan Repo, has left the electric carmaker, Bloomberg reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. Her departure follows Tesla's disclosure last week that Chief Accounting Officer Eric Branderiz had left for personal reasons. The stock was down 4.4%.

Signet Jewelers Ltd. (SIG)  fell 20% after the company unveiled a three-year restructuring plan.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG) said Wednesday that Chief Marketing Officer Mark Crumpacker would be resigning. The stock declined 2.2%.

Oil prices fell slightly to $60.66 a barrel after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said crude supplies rose by 5 million barrels last week. Analysts had expected inventories to rise by 2.5 million barrels.

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