Morning Notes Jan. 9, 2018

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NFIB Small Business Optimism Index: Optimism among small business owners cooled in December after November’s surge to 13-year highs, with the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index falling 2.6 points to 104.9. Leading the monthly index below the range of analysts’ expectations and 3 points below the consensus forecast was an 11-point drop in expected business conditions to 37 and a loss of 8 points to minus 1 in plans to increase inventories.

JOLTS: Job openings remain high but did slip 0.8 percent to a lower-than-expected 5.879 million in November vs a downward revised 5.925 million in October. Hires also fell, down 1.9 percent in the month to 5.488 million.

Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari to participate in a moderated Q&A at Cargill Headquarters in Minnesota, with audience Q&A.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp: The second-stage booster section of the Falcon 9 rocket used by SpaceX to launch a military satellite failed, according to people familiar with the matter, with one saying both the booster and the satellite fell into the ocean.

Oil Prices: Monthly average prices for Brent crude have increased every month since July, with the benchmark now close to its highest level since Dec. 2014, and closing in on $70 a barrel.

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Dr. Don Pratl is Director of Trader Development and Education for TradeStation. He joined TradeStation in 2016 after holding similar roles with other online brokerages. Don’s long career in the financial services industry reflects expertise in administering trading and investment strategy programs for retail investors as well as financial services professionals. Since the 1980s, he has held various positions in areas including CBOE trading floor order execution, marketing, sales, personnel management, training and customer service. Don holds series 3, 4, 7 and 63 FINRA licenses, earned his Ph.D. in Organization and Management, and his M.A. and B.A. in Political Science. He has been an occasional adjunct college instructor since 2004 at a range of institutions, teaching undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students using in-class and online formats.