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Blackstone COO Jonathan Gray. Photo: Heidi Gutman/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The Blackstone Group might have pulled its executives from next week's "Davos in the Desert" event in Riyadh, but it does not appear to be altering its deep financial ties to Saudi Arabia.

The bottom line: It's much easier for firms to walk with their feet than with their wallets.

Blackstone reported Q3 earnings this morning, and during an analyst call was asked about possible pressures related to the Saudi Public Investment Fund's anchor commitment to an infrastructure fund that so far has garnered around $5 billion (total target of $40 billion, half of which could come from PIF). An executive replied:

"We've been concerned by what we've been reading... In the short-term we may get some questions, but the key thing to remember is our investors know Blackstone is the sole GP of the capital. We have sole discretion... Investors have enormous confidence in us which is why we believe we're on a path to growing [infrastructure] to large-scale despite some near term challenges."

The only real exceptions so far have been Richard Branson and Ari Emanuel, who have both pulled out of tangible business deals with the Saudis. But expect reporters and investors to begin asking these more consequential questions, particularly as the conference fades into the past. And we'll see if Blackstone is right that this is only a "short-term" issue.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

15 mins ago - World

Putin to demand legal guarantee against NATO expansion in call with Biden

Biden and Putin meeting in Geneva in June. Photo: Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin is demanding a legally binding guarantee that NATO will not expand east — including to Ukraine — and plans to raise the issue in an upcoming phone call with President Biden, according to the Kremlin.

Why it matters: Russia has massed more than 94,000 troops on the border with Ukraine and could be preparing for a large-scale invasion at the end of January, Ukraine's defense minister said Friday.

A tale of two jobs reports

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

Whatever you think about the economy, you’ll find something in this morning’s conflicting jobs report to reinforce your views: America's job market is white-hot and the labor market is anemic.

Between the lines: The conflict comes from the two separate surveys the government uses to compile the report.

Elon Musk's mega-billion bounty

Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Here's how insanely rich Elon Musk is: He has unloaded $10 billion of his stock in the past month — and could do that 15+ more times given his silos of shares.