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Foreign investors shore up Index   2011-01-21 - VNS

Buoyed by heavy foreign investor interest in a few key stocks, the VN-Index gained 1.2 per cent yesterday to close the day's session on the HCM City Stock Exchange at 511.98 points – even as declining shares outnumbered gainers by 129-99.

Bao Viet Holdings (BVH) and Masan Group (MSN), both having a large impact on movements of the VN-Index, each rose to their ceiling prices yesterday, with foreign investors accounting for over 80 per cent of the volume in both stocks.

"Normally, foreign investors favour banking and financial stocks, but most of these have already bumped up against the foreign-ownership ceiling, so they have shifted to other blue chips like BVH or MSN," said Le Chi Thanh, a securities analyst with a Ha Noi-based securities firm.

Foreign investment funds might be playing a shell game of stepping up buying of certain blue chips that have a heavy influence on the VN-Index, thereby increasing the net value of their entire portfolios, said an expert familiar with the industry who asked to remain anonymous.

Foreign investors bought a net of 2.3 million shares on the HCM City exchange yesterday, accounting for 18.2 per cent of the total market volume of 41.2 million shares. The value of trades remained modest at VND1.1 trillion (US$52.4 million).

On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index fell for a third day, closing off by 0.23 per cent to 107.02 points. The volume of trades continued low at 21.6 million shares, worth a total of VND394.9 billion ($18.8 million).

Tien Phong Plastics (NTP) and Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) were the only leading shares by capitalisation to post gains on the day.

Yesterday, the Ha Noi Statistics Office announced January inflation data for Ha Noi, showing a 1.68 per-cent increase over December. HCM City inflation data for January showed a more modest 1.01 per cent increase.

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