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The National Federation of Independent Business says small business hiring grew in December at an average rate of 0.15 workers per firm, the strongest result since September 2015. NFIB says 53% of small business owners hired or attempted to hire workers, up from 51% in November. Fifteen percent of small business owners said that finding qualified workers was their single biggest problem.

International trade unexpectedly narrowed in December. At $44.3 billion in December 2016, the nation's trade deficit on goods and services was smaller than the $45.7 billion deficit in November 2016. (LPL Research)

The makers of Cadbury, Oreos, Dentyne, Ritz and Tang, Mondelez posted quarterly profits of 47 cents per share, on sales below expectations. CEO Irene Rosenfeld said results were impacted by weakness in its business abroad. (CNBC)

Alaska Air, the nation’s fifth largest airline, posted a quarterly profit of $1.56 per share. Sales beat forecasts and the company increased its quarterly dividend to 30 cents per share. (AP)

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

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