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Singapore shares end marginally higher, off intraday high

SINGAPORE shares kicked off the week on a higher note on Monday, reflecting gains on Wall Street last Thursday.

This was in spite of China's retaliatory tariffs on US imports and disappointing Caixin Purchasing Managers Index - an indicator of conditions at small factories on the mainland.

After opening at 3,439.04, the Straits Times Index closed at 3,430.76, up 0.08 per cent, or 2.79 points, from Thursday. Volume was light, around 824.5 million shares traded, with Hong Kong and Australia markets still closed for Easter. There were 185 gainers to 226 losers.

The Chinese government said that tariffs on about US$3 billion worth of US imports are going into effect Monday, hitting 128 products ranging from pork to steel pipes.

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Investors are entering the second quarter on the defensive, after the worst three months for global stocks in more than two years, characterised by a surge in volatility and a barrage of concerns from escalating trade tensions to profit-taking in technology shares, Bloomberg said.

The focus this week turns to US labour market data Friday, with unemployment expected to fall to its lowest level since 2000. Traders will also be keeping a close watch on details of US plans for tariffs on China.