Traders returning from the holiday are sending U.S. futures higher following the Grinch’s appearance on Christmas Eve that continued the market meltdown. President Trump has since praised U.S. companies, saying, “they have record kinds of numbers. So I think it’s a tremendous opportunity to buy,” and expressed confidence in Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who convened the “Plunge Protection Team” on Monday after speaking with executives from six major banks. (SA)

U.S. government payments to farmers – as part of trade aid relief – will temporarily stop next week if the federal shutdown continues, according to the Department of Agriculture. The payments are part of a larger $12B emergency aid package the Trump administration announced in July to help U.S. soybean, corn and commodity producers impacted by retaliatory trade tariffs from China and others. (SA)

Shoppers delivered the strongest holiday sales increase for U.S. retailers in six years, according to early data.  Total U.S. retail sales, excluding automobiles, rose 5.1% between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 from a year earlier, according to Mastercard, which tracks both online and in-store spending with all forms of payment. Overall, U.S. consumers spent over $850 billion this holiday season. The figures suggest a stock-market swoon and partial government shutdown haven’t curbed consumer confidence and spending. (WSJ)

S&P 500 futures are up 10, and NASDAQ futures are up 38. The MSCI international index is down 1/3 of a %.  

Oil is up $.41 at $42.94 a barrel.

Gold is up $\6 at $1278 a Troy ounce.

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.