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China inflation: October PPI, CPI data

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China’s producer price index (PPI) rose 3.3 percent in October from a year earlier, slowing from the previous month’s increase of 3.6 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Friday.

The number matched expectations in a Reuters poll of analysts for a 3.3 percent rate last month.

Producer price inflation cooled for the fourth straight month in October — an indication of slowing economic momentum amid escalating trade tensions with the U.S.

The consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.5 percent last month, also in line with market expectations of a 2.5 percent gain.

China has set its consumer inflation goal at 3 percent for 2018, same as last year.

The state planner recently said there is no sign of accelerating consumer inflation and expected prices to remain within a reasonable range.

— CNBC’s Huileng Tan contributed to this report.

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US may halt refueling of aircraft from Saudi-led coalition

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Houthi rebels take security measures with tanks around the parliament in Sanaa, Yemen, in February 2015.

Mohammed Hamoud | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Houthi rebels take security measures with tanks around the parliament in Sanaa, Yemen, in February 2015.

The United States may halt refueling of aircraft from the Saudi-led coalition engaged in Yemen, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday, a move that would end of the most divisive aspects of U.S. assistance to Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, acknowledged the matter was under consideration by both countries and suggested that the decision could ultimately be made by Saudi Arabia, given its own refueling capacity.

It was not immediately clear what had prompted the change, which comes at a time of international outrage over the murder of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and after Democratic and Republican lawmakers threatened to take action in Congress next week over the refueling operations.

The Pentagon declined to comment.

“We continue to have discussions with the Saudis. We have nothing to report at this time,” Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Rebecca Rebarich said.

Critics have long questioned U.S. involvement in the war, which has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced more than 2 million and led to widespread famine in Yemen since it began in 2015.

The United States had previously defended its assistance to the Saudi-led coalition on the grounds it was aimed at ending the conflict with a negotiated resolution.

Senators Todd Young, a Republican, and Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, called on Friday on the Trump administration to stop refueling Saudi coalition aircraft.

“If the administration does not take immediate steps… we are prepared to take additional action when the Senate comes back into session,” Young and Shaheen said.

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Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Alphabet lost $75 bln market cap

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From left Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Alphabet CEO Larry Page, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg listen during a meeting with technology industry leaders at Trump Tower in New York, NY on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016.

Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images

From left Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Alphabet CEO Larry Page, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg listen during a meeting with technology industry leaders at Trump Tower in New York, NY on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016.

It was a down day for big tech.

Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook — the five most valuable U.S. tech companies — lost a combined $75 billion in market value on Friday. They led a 1.7 percent drop in the S&P 500 tech index and a similar slide in the tech-heavy Nasdaq. Amazon was the worst performer of the group, dropping 2.4 percent.

Stocks fell across the board Friday as declines in oil prices and skepticism about a trade deal with China raised concerns that economic growth is headed for a slowdown. Thursday’s report from the Federal Reserve pointing to future rate hikes compounded worries and sent investors fleeing from tech companies, which are particularly susceptible to swings in the economy.

Tech stocks are coming off their worst month since 2008. The Nasdaq closed October down 9.2 percent, with Amazon and Alphabet leading the decline down 20 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively.

Analysts were underwhelmed by recent tech earnings reports, including those from Amazon, Apple and Alphabet. Amazon gave lower-than-expected guidance going into the holiday season and Apple announced it would no longer disclose unit sales for iPhone, iPad and Mac devices.

Even with Friday’s losses, the Nasdaq and S&P tech index finished the week up, as did shares of Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet.

WATCH: Trade dispute hanging a cloud over 2019

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Blankfein attended meeting with disgraced Malaysian financier 

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Then-Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein attended a 2009 meeting with the Malaysian financier later accused of plundering billions of dollars from his country’s investment fund, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Blankfein, who retired as CEO last month, is the unidentified Goldman executive who attended the 2009 meeting in New York referenced in U.S. court documents released last week, according to this person, who declined to be identified speaking on this matter. The Justice Department unsealed an indictment last week accusing Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho and an associate with laundering billions of dollars embezzled from the state investment fund known as 1MDB.

Goldman Sachs is undergoing scrutiny for its role in the 1MDB scandal. The bank arranged three bond deals in 2012 and 2013 to fund 1MDB, raising $6.5 billion to supposedly attract foreign investment. Instead, Low is accused of paying bribes to officials and attempting to launder billions stolen from the fund. Goldman has said that bankers including Tim Leissner, who plead guilty to the scheme, deceived the firm and dodged its internal controls.

The 2009 meeting was an introduction between Blankfein and recently-elected Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak to talk about trade and investments, according to the person. Such meetings are commonplace for investment bank leaders. Low, known as “Jho Low,” was one of about 12 attendees of that meeting.

Blankfein also moderated a discussion with Najib in 2013 held with private equity firms in New York. While Low was scheduled to attend that meeting, he wasn’t there, according to the person. By then, the bank had already flagged Low as someone the firm shouldn’t do business with.

Najib was ousted as prime minister in May and has since been charged with money laundering and corruption charges tied to 1MDB.

Blankfein’s attendance at the 2009 meeting was reported Thursday by Bloomberg News. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Blankfein attended the 2013 meeting.

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