Wall Street falls as Gary Cohn's exit adds to trade war fears

March 7 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday as investors fretted that the exit of staunch free trade supporter Gary Cohn could encourage President Donald Trump to go ahead with his threat to impose hefty tariffs and risk a global trade war.

The losses were broad-based, but shares of manufacturing titans Boeing <BA.N> and Caterpillar <CAT.N> were hit hard, slipping more than 1 percent on worries about higher input costs and trade barriers outside the United States.

General Electric <GE.N> dipped 1.3 percent after Deutsche Bank analysts warned of the potential impact from Trump's planned tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Adding to investor worries, Trump showed no sign of backing down in his first tweet on Wednesday, while China raised its concerns at the World Trade Organization where 17 other WTO members also voiced misgivings.

"It's more of the same jitters we had seen recently, with investors in this case fearing that a lack of confidence in the tariffs by Trump's own people," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at New Vines Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

"Investors are taking risk off the table to see how much more damage in the administration this will cause."

Cohn, the architect of the tax overhaul enacted in December, was seen as a stabilizing force within the Trump administration. His departure is seen strengthening the hands of those advocating a protectionist agenda.

22 PHOTOS
Trump's top economic adviser Gary Cohn
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Trump's top economic adviser Gary Cohn
White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 28, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Gary Cohn, director of the U.S. National Economic Council, right, speaks with Hope Hicks, White House director of strategic communications, before a moment of silence with U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, in remembrance of those lost during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. Trump is presiding over his first 9/11 commemoration on the 16th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people when hijackers flew commercial airplanes into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn stands before a moment of silence in the wake of a mass shooting in Las Vegas at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
National Economic Council director Gary Cohn (L) and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly speak during a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Gary Cohn, the director of the U.S. National Economic Council, smiles during the Group of Thirty (G30) International Banking Seminar in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. The seminar takes place to coincide with the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group. Photographer: Olivier Douliery/Bloomberg via Getty Images
(L-R) U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and chief economic advisor Gary Cohn leave notes at the Western Wall in Jerusalem May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
National Economic Council director Gary Cohn listens during a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn sits with other administration officials for a news conference with Kuwait's Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S. September 7, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner (L) and economic adviser Gary Cohn take part in a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 7, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Gary Cohn, U.S. President Donald Trump's top economic adviser, steps from Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, U.S., August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump waits on the line as he call Prime Minister Leo Varadkar of Ireland to congratulate him for his victory, accompanied by Director of the White House National Economic Council Gary Cohn and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 27, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (C) and Director of the White House National Economic Council Gary Cohn (L) attend a dinner hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump (not pictured) welcoming Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (not pictured) at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 26, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 28: Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn waits to speak during the daily news briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, September 28, 2017 in Washington, DC. Cohn discussed the administration's plans for reforming the tax code. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 28: (L to R) Homeland Security Director Tom Bossert and Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn arrive for the daily news briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, September 28, 2017 in Washington, DC. Cohn discussed the administration's plans for reforming the tax code. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Kellyanne Conway, senior advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump, left, speaks with Gary Cohn, director of the U.S. National Economic Council, before a moment of silence with U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, in remembrance of those lost during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. Trump is presiding over his first 9/11 commemoration on the 16th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people when hijackers flew commercial airplanes into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
BRIDGEHAMPTON, NY - AUGUST 5: Richard Kalbacher and Gary Cohn attend Sixth Annual Hamptons Paddle and Party for Pink Benefitting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation at Fairview on Mecox Bay on August 5, 2017 in Bridgehampton, NY. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Gary Cohn, director of the U.S. National Economic Council, left, speaks with Ivanka Trump, assistant to U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and Jared Kushner, senior White House adviser, before a moment of silence with U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, in remembrance of those lost during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. Trump is presiding over his first 9/11 commemoration on the 16th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people when hijackers flew commercial airplanes into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
BRIDGEHAMPTON, NY - AUGUST 5: (L-R) Jason Binn, Ryan Seacrest, Lisa Pevaroff-Cohn and Gary Cohn attend Sixth Annual Hamptons Paddle and Party for Pink Benefitting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation at Fairview on Mecox Bay on August 5, 2017 in Bridgehampton, NY. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 21: National Economic Council chairman Gary Cohn stands at the North Portico before President Donald Trump travels to Iowa from the White House in Washington, DC on Wednesday, June 21, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
FILE: Gary Cohn, director of the U.S. National Economic Council, left, speaks with Ivanka Trump, assistant to U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and Jared Kushner, senior White House adviser, before a moment of silence with U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, in remembrance of those lost during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. New Yorks banking regulator has asked Deutsche Bank AG and a pair of local lenders to provide information about their relationships with Jared Kushner, his family and the Kushner Cos., according to people familiar with the matter. Kushners financial and business ties have been of consistent interest for potential conflicts given his broad portfolio as senior adviser to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump. Our editors select the best archive images on Kushner and his family. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 23: Gary Cohn, White House Economic Advisor (R) and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster brief reporters on President Donald Trump's upcoming trip to the World Economic Forum later this week in Davos Switzerland, at the White House on January 23, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter (L), National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn (C) and advisor Stephen Miller follow US President Donald Trump as he walks from Marine One to the White House January 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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Also driving losses were a set of weak results and forecasts from Dollar Tree <DLTR.O> and Ross Stores <ROST.O>.

Discount store operator Dollar Tree slumped 14 percent after reporting disappointing holiday quarter results, while off-price retailer Ross Stores fell 7.4 percent after its full-year profit forecast came in largely below expectations.

Netflix's <NFLX.O> 1.2 percent drop after a "hold" rating from Stifel dragged the S&P consumer discretionary index <.SPLRCD> down 0.84 percent.

At 9:32 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> was down 233.36 points, or 0.94 percent, at 24,650.76. The S&P 500 <.SPX> fell 0.69 percent to 2,709.19 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> declined 0.59 percent to 7,328.45.

The ADP's National Employment Report showed that private employers added 235,000 jobs in February, compared with Reuters estimate of 195,000.

A more comprehensive report that includes hiring in both public and private sectors is due on Friday.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 2,005 to 457. On the Nasdaq, 1,765 issues fell and 502 advanced.

8 PHOTOS
On the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
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On the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders gather at the post where Snap Inc. is traded, just before the opening bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 11, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Traders gather at the post where Snap Inc. is traded, just before the opening bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 11, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average, May 10, 2017 in New York. Wall Street stocks dipped early Wednesday, with Disney shares sliding on worries about its ESPN network, and as the market weighed President Donald Trump's shock firing of FBI director James Comey. / AFP PHOTO / Bryan R. Smith (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
A video board displays the day's closing numbers at the New York Stock Exchange after the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average, May 10, 2017 in New York. Wall Street stocks dipped early Wednesday, with Disney shares sliding on worries about its ESPN network, and as the market weighed President Donald Trump's shock firing of FBI director James Comey. / AFP PHOTO / Bryan R. Smith (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average, May 10, 2017 in New York. Wall Street stocks dipped early Wednesday, with Disney shares sliding on worries about its ESPN network, and as the market weighed President Donald Trump's shock firing of FBI director James Comey. / AFP PHOTO / Bryan R. Smith (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Monday, May 8, 2017. U.S. stocks slipped from all-time highs, while Europe's common currency weakened following a convincing defeat of populism in France's presidential election that investors had already priced in. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Friday, May 5, 2017. U.S. stocks fluctuated with the dollar and Treasuries as a rebound in hiring added to optimism that the economy is on firm footing, boosting speculation the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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