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Index gains on steadier investor sentiment   2009-03-16 - VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

The VN-Index ended last week with significant gains intact, as positive developments on global markets helped buoy investor confidence and brought higher volumes back to the domestic stock market.

The index increased 5.74 points overall to end the week at 251.44, a rise of 2.34 per cent over the previous Friday's close.

The index increased 5.74 points overall to end the week at 251.44, a rise of 2.34 per cent over the previous Friday's close.

Volumes rose sharply last week, with around 14 million shares changing hands per day, for an average daily revenue of VND240 billion (US$14.1 million). In the previous week, only about 8 million shares were traded per day, with an average value of VND151 billion ($8.9 million).

Banking shares gained the sharpest last week, up 8.18 per cent, according to FPT Securities Co data, followed by automotive shares, at 7.3 per cent, and construction and building materials, at 5.78 per cent.

Communications shares declined the most, down. 4.64 per cent, followed by tourism and entertainment, at 2.23 per cent.

Ngo Van Minh, deputy director of the analysis department at EuroCapital Securities Co, said money flows were returning to the stock market.

Part of the profits from gold investments, which were quite significant recently thanks to rapidly increasing gold prices, had been shifted to the securities market, Minh said.

Phu Nhuan Jewelry Co chairwoman Cao Thi Ngoc Dung said gold prices were likely to increase as investors were considering gold "a safe shelter" in the current tough economic context. But she suggested investor caution to avoid risks, as gold prices always "unexpectedly reverse directions."

Companies paying cash dividends this spring were also motivating investors to buy shares, Minh said, as an average dividend rate of 15 per cent was far more attractive than bank deposit interest rates, now ranging between 8.7 and 9 percent. But, he said, questions remained about whether the money would remain in the market.

"Supporting news for the market has not been forth-coming, and in fact, many investors are looking into developments on the US stock market to make transaction decisions."

FPT Securities Co analyst Nguyen The Dinh agreed that it would be a challenge for domestic stock indices to maintain upward movement this week, with little supporting news and the uncertainty of the world stock markets.

Minh figured that, if the money inflows continued to be stable, the VN-Index would range between 250 and 260 points this week, with 260 now a psychologically-important mark.

In Ha Noi last week, the HASTC-index closed at 88.67 points after increasing 4.82 per cent over the previous week. Volume averaged 7.8 million shares per day, nearly double the previous week's average, while daily turnover was around VND138 billion ($8.1 million), up 76 per cent.

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