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S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile launchers are seen during the Victory Day military parade marking the 73rd anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War, the Eastern Front of World War II, in Moscow, Russia on May 09, 2018

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S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile launchers are seen during the Victory Day military parade marking the 73rd anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War, the Eastern Front of World War II, in Moscow, Russia on May 09, 2018

WASHINGTON — India risked U.S. sanctions when it agreed to a $5 billion deal to buy Russian missile systems. But two months after India signed the pact, it’s not clear whether the Trump administration will issue a waiver or follow through with any penalties.

India’s purchase of the Kremlin’s S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile system is subject to potential U.S. sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, a measure that was signed by President Donald Trump in 2017.

The deal and possible sanctions could come up this week, when India’s defense minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, holds talks with Defense Secretary James Mattis. The U.S. Defense chief stressed on Monday that this wouldn’t be the first time India has purchased weapons from the Kremlin.

“India has been spent many, many years in its nonaligned status, and it’s drawn a lot of weapons from Russia,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon ahead of Sitharaman’s arrival Monday. She is slated to leave Washington on Tuesday.

“We are here today to talk about all the issues that bring us closer together and we’ll sort out all those issues here today and in the days ahead,” he added, when asked about India’s S-400 purchase.

Russia’s S-400 system, a mobile long-range surface-to-air missile system, made its debut on the world stage in 2007. The platform rivals Lockheed Martin‘s THAAD, or terminal high altitude area defense, system and Raytheon‘s Patriot system.

Compared with U.S. systems, the Russian-made S-400 is capable of engaging a wider array of targets, at longer ranges and against multiple threats simultaneously.

What’s more, the Russian-made platform costs approximately $500 million, whereas a Patriot Pac-2 battery costs $1 billion and a THAAD battery rings in at about $3 billion, according to people with firsthand knowledge of a U.S. intelligence assessment.

About 13 countries have expressed interest in buying the S-400. China, India and Turkey have already signed purchase agreements for the missile platform.

China is in the middle of receiving its final shipment of the S-400 system. Turkey, a NATO ally, is slated to receive its S-400 next year and is expected to have the system ready for use by 2020.

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World

Dow falls 103 points, Nasdaq snaps 8-day winning streak on weak economic data

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The data releases come a day after the Federal Reserve released the minutes from its January meeting. The minutes highlighted downside risks to the U.S. economy, including “a rapid waning of fiscal policy stimulus, or a further tightening of financial market conditions.”

However, the Fed also hinted it may end its balance-sheet normalization process faster than expected. This would be positive for equity investors, as many see the reduction of the balance sheet as a form of tighter monetary policy.

Equities closed slightly higher on Wednesday, adding to the recent sharp gains in stocks. The S&P 500 is up more than 10 percent this year as the Fed signaled patience in future rate hikes and amid perceived progress in U.S.-China trade talks.

“Risk markets continue to probe higher with the SPX index … effectively completing the right hand side of the ‘V,'” wrote Michael Shaoul, chairman and CEO of Marketfield Asset Management. “With earnings season winding down, the FOMC minutes now released and some sort of a trade deal (or benign extension past March 1st) priced into the market further progress may be hard to squeeze out of the headline index.”

Officials from China and the U.S. met again in Washington on Thursday. Reports early Thursday morning said Washington and Beijing have begun drawing up memorandums of understanding over trade.

The U.S. and China are trying to resolve their differences over trade ahead of a March 1 deadline. However, speculation has risen that there may be an extension to that target, after President Donald Trump said it was not a “magical date.”

“Tariff news outweighs everything. There was no major news on trade, so the market is trading on what’s out there,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. “What’s out there today, there’s not that much excitement to it.”

Nike shares fell 1 percent after star Duke University basketball player Zion Williamson broke his shoe at the start of a highly anticipated game. The break led to Williamson hurting his knee.

—CNBC’s
Ryan Browne
contributed to this report.

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US-China trade war cited as headwind

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Danish shipping group Moller-Maersk reported fourth-quarter earnings in line with expectations on Thursday, but warned a long-running trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies could hamper growth in 2019.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) came in at $1.12 billion for the final three months of 2018, above the $1.07 billion forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll.

Shares of the company slipped more than 9 percent after results.

The company said it expects EBITDA as calculated under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) for this year of around $5 billion.

“Although we had a challenging start to 2018, looking at our financial performance, we increased earnings despite significantly higher bunker fuel prices and lower than expected container volume growth in the second half of 2018,” Soren Skou, CEO of Moller-Maersk, said in a statement on Thursday.

“However, profitability needs to improve,” he added.

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Facebook’s Zuckerberg meets UK culture secretary to discuss regulation

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Facebook's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks to participants during the Viva Technologie show at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on May 24, 2018 in Paris, France.

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Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks to participants during the Viva Technologie show at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on May 24, 2018 in Paris, France.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg is meeting with a British official Thursday to discuss internet regulation and fake news.

Zuckerberg will speak with U.K. Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright at the firm’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, about a U.K. government plan to regulate tech companies over how they tackle harmful content online.

Another topic high on the agenda will be the spread of disinformation on the web, a government spokesperson said, an issue the social network has faced heightened scrutiny over globally.

“I look forward to meeting Mr. Zuckerberg to discuss what more Facebook can do to help keep people safe on their platforms, as we prepare a new regulatory framework that will reinforce Facebook’s and other tech firms’ responsibility to keep us safe,” Wright said in a statement Thursday.

Britain’s Home Office and the culture department are due to release a white paper where they will lay out their strategy to counter issues like cyberbullying and child abuse content online. Reports have said the report could include a proposed regulator similar to Ofcom, the media watchdog, to monitor social media.

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