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Good news fails to lift VN-Index   2008-12-29 - Viet Nam News

Three days of gains weren't enough to lift the HCM City Stock Exchange last week, with the VN-Index ending Friday's session at 304.46, down 2.8 points, or 0.91 per cent, from the previous week's close.

In Ha Noi last week, the HASTC- Index lost 2.11 per cent overall to end at 105.62 points.

Average daily trading volume reached 9.34 million shares, down 13 per cent from the previous week's average, while revenues averaged VND222.6 billion (US$13 million) per day, a decline of 17.3 per cent.

During these market doldrums, however, VietinBank managed to mount a successful initial public offering (IPO) right on Christmas Day, auctioning over 56 million shares at VND20,265, just over their reference price of VND20,000.

Newly-listed Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAG) also posted healthy gains throughout the week, hitting the top of its regulated trading band for five consecutive days and advancing 43 per cent during the course of the week, making it one of the most successful debuts of the year.

Shares in the oil and gas sector also saw sharp gains last week, according to FPT Securities Co data, picking up an average of 7.9 per cent in value, but other sectors weren't so lucky. Entertainment and services shares plunged 18.56 per cent on the week, followed by financial shares, down 6.85 percent, and chemicals, down 5.62 per cent.

Meanwhile, the State Bank of Viet Nam lowered the prime rate early in the week to 8.5 per cent to ease enterprises' access to credit, and later in the week allowed the dong to depreciate 3 per cent against the US dollar to try and bolster exports.

But neither the VietinBank IPO nor various State Bank measures announced over the past week had as much impact on the market as investors might have hoped for, said FPT Securities analyst Tran Quang Vinh. Most investors were continuing to wait on firms' year-end business results, he said.

Despite the Christmas holiday, though, foreign investors continued to buck the trends and were showing renewed interest in the Vietnamese market, with their buys on the week rising by 183 per cent over the previous week to 5.6 million shares, while sales increased 27 per cent to about 4 million shares. Net purchase value for the week amounted to VND90.6 billion ($5.3 million).

Vinh predicted that the market was unlikely to see any significant change this week, with the VN-Index continuing to range between 300 and 318.

"It's hard for the market to go up at this time, but... buys by long-term investors will prevent the market from slumping deeply," said Vinh. "It's likely that the market will continue to be mixed, with an overall downward trend, if there is no special news."

Vu Dinh Anh, deputy head of the Ministry of Finance's Price and Market Research Institute, said it was a good sign that the domestic stock market has returned to its real value. "It's about time the bubble has deflated, after more than a year of overheated development," he said.

Transparency should be intensified and greater quality shares added to the market, Anh said, for the market to develop sustainably. The establishment of additional domestic securities investment funds should be encouraged to help the market become less dependent on a few major institutions.

Pham Duc Thang, general director of Sao Viet Securities, said capital flows into the stock market were expected to decline next year, as foreign investors restructured their investment portfolios.

"But the market could rebound significantly within a certain band," he said, noting that banks currently had profuse capital, and that deeply slumping share prices were likely to re-excite the greed of some investors.

In Ha Noi last week, the HASTC- Index lost 2.11 per cent overall to end at 105.62 points. About 6 million shares changed hands per day on average, with an average daily turnover of VND146.4 billion ($8.6 million), although bond transactions were quite busy, with 68.5 million shares traded during the week for a total value of VND7.5 trillion ($441.2 million).

Vinh expected the HASTC-Index to range between 100-112 this week.

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