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HCMC stock exchange likely to reopen May 30   2008-05-29 - Bloomberg

The Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, forced to suspend trade yesterday for a second day because of a technical fault, may reopen tomorrow at the earliest after computer systems have been repaired and tested.




“We really apologize to investors for this unexpected and rare breakdown,” the exchange said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.

An initial plan that would have restarted trading today was canceled to allow for further tests, it said.

The VN-Index of the 154 listed companies on the country’s principal stock exchange has slumped this year amid rising inflation and investor concerns about lower corporate earnings.

It last traded at 420.51, a decline of 55 percent since the end of last year.

Before Tuesday’s breakdown, the index had fallen for 16 straight sessions, the worst performer among exchanges monitored by Bloomberg.

The breakdown stoked speculation among some investors the problem was “deliberate’’ to avoid further falls, according to local media reports.

Still, the enforced halt has “annoyed investors who wanted to buy more to take advantage of the low share prices,” said Vo Xuan Thanh, a Ho Chi Minh City-based investor who trades shares on the Bao Viet Securities Co.’s trading floor.

The trading day normally begins at 8:30 a.m. and lasts three hours.

“After a final test with securities companies, we may resume trading on May 30 if the system is stable,” yesterday’s statement from the exchange said.

The error “may have come from the main server,” the chairman of the State Securities Commission, Vu Bang, said by phone in an interview before the exchange’s statement.

“We need to fix the problem first, and make sure it’s not going to happen again in the near future.”

The operation of the smaller Hanoi Securities Center remained normal yesterday and Tuesday, and brokers said some investors were choosing to switch focus to the nation’s capital.

“The halt in HCMC exchange has boosted trading volume in Hanoi,” said Nguyen Quang Bao, deputy director of the Hanoi brokerage unit of Saigon Securities Inc., Vietnam’s largest brokerage.

“There is still demand,” Bao added.

The volume on the Hanoi Securities Center surged to 2.6 million shares, worth VND83.3 billion ($5.1 million), compared with Tuesday’s 555,000 shares valued at VND15.7 billion.

The volume in Hanoi on May 26, the last time trade was available in HCMC, totaled 527,000 shares worth VND12 billion.

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