Caterpillar, GM and other big metals users's stocks drop after Cohn departure

  • Stocks of metal users like Caterpillar and GM slip in the wake of Gary Cohn's resignation.
  • The free trade advocate's resignation signaled an increased likelihood that Trump would implement tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
Gary Cohn, director of the U.S. National Economic Council.
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Gary Cohn, director of the U.S. National Economic Council.

Shares of companies that use metals like steel and aluminum fell Wednesday following the resignation of Gary Cohn, President Donald Trump's chief economic advisor.

Caterpillar dropped 1.5 percent and General Motors skidded 0.5 percent. Boeing, United and Technologies slipped less than 1 percent.

Cohn, a free-trade advocate who opposed implementing tariffs, resigned Tuesday night, five days after Trump announced plans for tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The resignation signaled an increased likelihood that Trump would implement the tariffs.

Since Trump's announcement, shares of metal users have been mostly under pressure. In that period, GM and Boeing are down more than 3.5 percent, while United Technologies is down 2.3 percent. Ford, however, is up 0.2 percent.

News of Cohn's resignation sent U.S. stock indexes falling amid growing worries of a trade war. The Dow Jones industrial average declined more than 130 points.

Cohn was seen by Wall Street as a voice of reason in a White House that is seemingly in constant turmoil. His presence in the White House was also well-liked by investors given his track record on Wall Street. Prior to working in the Trump administration, Cohn was president and COO at Goldman Sachs.