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STI ends Friday barely changed at 2,497.71, shares in SGX up more than 5 per cent

SINGAPORE stocks ended Friday broadly unchanged, amid a mixed performance across the region.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) closed 3.07 points or 0.12 per cent lower at 2,497.71. Across the market, advancers versus decliners were evenly split: 202 to 202.

The strongest performing STI component stock by a long way was Singapore Exchange (SGX), which climbed 5.12 per cent to close at S$9.03.

This comes after SGX announced the listing of the world's largest Chinese pure government bond exchange traded fund (ETF), opening a potential avenue of growth in the bourse operator's ETF business.

The ICBC CSOP FTSE Chinese Government Bond Index ETF will begin trading on Sept 21, with some US$676 million in assets under management.

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Goldman Sachs also upgraded its call in SGX this week to "buy" from "neutral", on the view that its derivatives business will perform better than the market expects. Goldman raised its price target on the stock to S$10, from S$8.55 previously.

SGX will trade ex for its final dividend of S$0.08 per share on Oct 1.

The next best performer within the STI was Keppel Corp, which rose 1.91 per cent to S$4.28. It was closely followed by Dairy Farm International, which rose 1.8 per cent to end at US$3.97.

Among the smaller cap stocks, Mermaid Maritime rose 9.8 per cent to S$0.067. The company, which has a market cap of S$94.7 million, said earlier this week that a wholly owned unit had exercised a put option on 33.76 per cent stake in Asia Offshore Drilling (AOD) with Seadrill. The consideration for the disposal of AOD is US$31 million.

Separately, Mermaid also announced that it is forming a joint venture with a unit of Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production plc to develop robotics and artificial intelligence technologies to provide commercial subsea engineering services.

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