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President Trump Friday slammed 3M, which makes the much-in-demand N-95 respirator masks, and said he was invoking the Defense Production Act to force the company into submission. “We’re not happy with 3M. We’re not at all happy with 3M,” he said at the White House press briefing. 3M CEO Mike Roman, whom I interviewed on this subject earlier this month, fought back. He said the company is going above and beyond to manufacture respirator masks for the U.S., and said that any suggestion that “3M is not doing all it can to fight price gouging and unauthorized reselling is absurd.”

It’s hard to get to the bottom of this breakdown between the White House and 3M. But my reading, from the public comments of both sides, is that it has less to do with whether Mr. Roman is putting financial obligations over social obligations, and more to do with which societies he is supposed to oblige. His company is based in the U.S., but operates throughout the world. Does corporate patriotism require him to put the humanitarian needs of the U.S. above all others?

President Trump and his advisor, Peter Navarro, seem to think the answer …

A worker wearing protective garments sanitizes the Duomo square, during the coronavirus disease outbreak in central Milan, Italy.

Flavio Lo Scalzo | REUTERS

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  • Global cases: At least 1,197,405
  • Global deaths: At least 64,606
  • Top 5 countries: United States (308,850), Spain (126,168), Italy (124,632), , Germany (96,092), and France (90,848). 

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of 9 a.m. Beijing time. 

All times below are in Beijing time.

6:04 pm: Iran coronavirus death toll hits 3,603

Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus hit 3,603 on Sunday, an increase of 150 from the previous day, a health ministry spokesperson said. The country is the worst-hit in the Middle East, with 58,226 confirmed cases so far. 

4:14 pm: South Sudan reports first case

South Sudan reported its first confirmed coronavirus case Sunday, which the country’s vice president said was a 29-year-old female who had come from Ethiopia and was being treated in isolation. 

4:10 pm: Malaysia reports 179 new cases, 4 deaths

Malaysia reported 179 new coronavirus cases on Sunday and four deaths, bringing the totals for cases and deaths in the country to 3,662 and 61, respectively. The

2020 is the year the hard seltzer turf war that has been brewing truly heats up.

With volume tripling from year-ago levels and shipments reaching more than 82 million cases annually, hard seltzer easily outsells vodka. The buzzy drink appeared in its first Super Bowl ad in 2020, and more than half of American alcohol drinkers now consume at least one hard seltzer each week.

The leading brand, White Claw, even has its own cultural catchphrase: “Ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws.”

By 2023, consumption of hard seltzers is projected to triple, according to industry researcher IWSR. That pace of growth has led to an acceleration in new entrants to the market, with as many as 100 alcoholic seltzer brands selling as many as 400 different variations this year. And while the COVID-19 crisis will result in some challenges to distribution in the coming months, hard seltzer is expected to be the fastest-growing alcoholic beverage over the next several years.

Former “Bachelorette” contestant and fan favorite Mike Johnson and Smirnoff teamed up to launch the “Will You Accept This Rosé?” campaign by surprising fans on Jan. 13, 2020, in Brooklyn.
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Smirnoff Seltzer

For …

Oil producer group OPEC and its partners will reportedly hold an emergency virtual meeting on Monday, with all members of the energy alliance expected to take part in an effort to stabilize markets.

It comes less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump told CNBC that he expected OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC leader Russia to take up to 15 million barrels of crude off the market.

International benchmark Brent crude traded at $32.78 a barrel Friday morning, up over 9%, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) stood at $26.59, more than 5% higher.

Brent settled up more than 21% on Thursday, registering its best day since contract inception in 1989, while WTI closed up over 24%, also marking its best-ever daily rally. It leaves both benchmarks on pace for their best week since January 2009, although, year-to-date, Brent and WTI are still down more than 54%.

On Friday, Azerbaijan’s energy ministry said a virtual meeting between OPEC producers and non-OPEC partners, an alliance sometimes referred to as OPEC+, had been scheduled for April 6, according to the RIA news agency.

OPEC was not immediately available to comment when contacted by CNBC Friday morning.


Trump said via Twitter

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As more cities mandate the closure of restaurants and bars in response to the current coronavirus pandemic, the restaurant industry stands to lose $225 billion in sales over the next three months, according to the National Restaurant Association. However, many operators hope new relaxed laws around alcohol sales will provide a much-needed lifeline to their businesses.

In mid-March, local and state officials in California and New York announced restaurants and bars could start selling wine, beer, and cocktails for takeout and delivery. Businesses could deliver goods themselves, employ a third-party platform, or provide takeout for guests willing to pick it up. The new measure is meant to provide a bit of cushioning for these establishments as all seating and dining rooms have been forced to close. It was a rapid shift—and a giant learning curve—for many businesses that closed in-room operations in order to help “flatten the curve” of COVID-19.

However, the loosened regulations aren’t as simple as just adding a cocktail to a mobile app menu. Restrictions still vary by state, and operators find themselves combing through knotty …

1. Dow set for sharp drop after worst first quarter ever

A pedestrian wearing a protective mask walks along Wall Street in front of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S. on Monday, March 30, 2020.

Michael Nagle Bloomberg | Getty Images

Dow futures pointed to a drop of more than 700 points at Wednesday’s open on the first day of April and the second quarter on Wall Street. White House officials are projecting between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths in the U.S. with coronavirus fatalities peaking here over the next two weeks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed out its worst first-quarter ever with a 410-point decline Tuesday. The Dow’s coronavirus-driven plunge in March was the worst of any month since October 2008 during the financial crisis. Amid the Q1 carnage, Amazon stock was a standout, gaining 5.4% as online shopping for household essentials surged as states around the nation put stay-at-home orders in place. Gilead Sciences shares were up 15% in the first quarter as its experimental drug against the coronavirus, remdesivir, showed promise.

2. Coronavirus impact on employment emerges in data

ADP issues its March report on private sector employment at 8:15 a.m. ET