An investor observes the online securities trading board at Bao Viet Securities Corp. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnamese shares returned to negative territory on both local markets on May 26 as investors remained worried about a possible US interest rate increase in June and slower recovery of China’s economy.

The benchmark VN Index on the HCM Stock Exchange retreated 1.2 percent to finish at 604.34 points, erasing a two-day gain of 0.1 percent.

The HNX Index on the Hanoi Stock Exchange pulled back 0.3 percent from the previous day’s gain to close at 81.06 points.

Investor confidence was still negative amid fears that the US central bank may raise its interest rate for the first time since December. Such concerns have strengthened the dollar against other currencies on the global currency market.

Meanwhile, investor confidence was also dampened as other markets across Asia finished lower than the previous day as China’s latest economic data proved the second-largest economy was recovering at a slower pace after a promising start to the year.

Such low investor confidence forced Vietnam’s central bank to hike its daily reference mid-point rate for exchange trading band between the dong and the dollar by 3 VND to 21,924 VND for a dollar, the highest since the beginning of the year, to keep local markets attractive enough to foreign investors.

As a result, blue chips suffered from gloomy investor confidence, such as dairy firm Vinamilk (VNM), consumer goods producer Masan Group (MSN), property developer Vingroup JSC (VIC), and insurers Bao Viet Holdings (BVH) and PVI Holdings (PVI).

VNM lost 2.1 percent, MSN fell 1.4 percent, VIC dropped 1.9 percent, BVH slid 2.5 percent and PVI continued the trend by edging down 0.4 percent.

Among other big listed companies, Hoang Anh Gia Lai JSC (HAG) and HAGL Agricultural JSC (HNG) tumbled 3.7 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively, after Hoang Anh Gia Lai JSC put an end to its hi-tech cattle raising project in the central highland province of Kon Tum.

The banking sector was also a focus yesterday as all biggest banks declined, including Vietcombank (VCB), Vietinbank (CTG), the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BID), Sai Gon-Hanoi Bank (SHB) and Sacombank (STB). These banks slipped between 1.2 percent and 2.2 percent.

On a positive note, energy stocks such as PetroVietnam Coating Corp (PVB), PetroVietnam Drilling and Well Service Corp (PVD) and PetroVietnam Technical Service Corp (PVS) made improvements after global oil prices hit a seven-month high during the May 26 session.

Both local markets traded more than 161 million shares worth 2.6 trillion VND (116.2 million USD), a 6.8-percent decrease from the May 25 trading value.-VNA