Heavy buys in blue chips helped lift the VN-Index to a close yesterday of 481.4 points on Dec. 30, a gain of 0.55 percent over Dec.29 finish, but low trading volume on the HCM Stock Exchange suggested dampened investor enthusiasm.

Gains by major shares like insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH), Masan Group (MSN), Vietcombank (VCB) and PetroVietnam Finance (PVF) were largely driven by foreign investors, noted Nguyen Thanh Binh, head of analysis for a Hanoi-based securities firm.

Foreign investors, who were net buyers of 1.5 million shares overall on both exchanges, worth a net of 58.2 billion VND (2.8 million USD), accounted for over 90 per cent of trades in BVH and over 96 percent of activity in MSN shares, Binh said.

"However, the rally in blue chips wasn't enough to attract local investors," he said, noting low volume by the order matching method of just 37.3 million shares, worth 920 billion VND (43.8 million USD).

The total volume of trades was a more respectable 57 million shares, worth 1.5 trillion VND (71.4 million USD).

On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index fell for the second day, losing a quarter of a percentage point to close at 112.64 points. Volume was lower than Wednesday's at 41 million shares, with a value of 833.4 billion VND (39.7 million USD).

PetroVietnam Construction (PVX) was the most-active share, with 10 million traded.

Analysts of Stoxplus Corporation expected sluggish trades in the final session of the year today due to holiday sentiment and market uncertainty.

The markets will be dark on Monday for the New Year holiday, but trading will resume on Jan. 4./.