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Bank shares, foreign buys lift market

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Nearly two-thirds of listed stocks posted gains on the nation's stock exchanges on Feb. 27, lifting benchmark indices.

On the HCM Stock Exchange, the VN-Index closed at a nearly - five-month high of 428.41 points, a gain of 1.18 percent over the previous session on Feb. 24.

Bank stocks continued to attract speculative investors. Military Bank (MBB) became the most-active share on a volume of over five million yesterday, closing up 3.5 percent to 14,700 VND per share. MBB will pay a 3 percent cash dividend for the second half of 2011.

Ongoing rumours about the battle for control of the board of Sacombank (STB) between STB management and Eximbank (EIB) lifted STB shares to their ceiling price for a second consecutive session. Over 1.2 million shares of STB were traded while buy orders for another million couldn't be filled.

Advancers outnumbered decliners on the HCM City bourse by a margin of four-to-one, with fully half of all gaining shares hitting their ceiling prices. Many were blue chips, including Phu My Fertilisers (DPM), steemaker Hoa Phat (HPG) and real estate developer Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAG) – helping lift the VN30 Index by 1.69 percent to conclude the session at 485.85 points.

Among large-caps, only insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH) and real estate developer Vincom (VIC) bucked the trend, declining by 2.5 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.

The overall value of trades in HCM City , however, dropped 15.6 percent from Feb. 24, totalling about 931 billion VND (44.3 million USD) with 65.4 million shares changing hands.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index rose by 3.12 percent to close the day at 69.16 points. Value fell by 7 percent to just 682.4 billion VND (32.5 million USD) while the volume of trades decreased by 13 percent to around 74.8 million shares.

Hanoi Housing Bank (HBB) remained the most-active stock nationwide, with 10.4 million traded before it closed at its ceiling price of 5,500 VND.

Market conditions were good with positive support from foreign buyers over the past week, helping maintain high volumes and values, PetroVietnam Securities Co analysts wrote in a report.

"However, with such rapid growth, the market will likely see a strong and sudden downward correction in the next few sessions," they warned.

Foreign investors continued as net buyers on both exchanges, picking up shares worth a combined net of 18.5 billion VND (882,000 USD). -VNA
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