Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - The VN Index on the HCM Stock Exchange struggled to rise for a third day as investors tried offloading their stakes in large-cap stocks and shifted focus to penny and mid-cap shares.

Vietnam’s benchmark index ended up 0.05 percent at 706.26 points, lifting its gain to a third day with a total growth of 0.8 percent.

More than 175 million shares worth 3.27 trillion VND (145.5 million USD) were traded on the southern bourse, an increase of 8.6 percent in trading volume and 18 percent in trading value compared to February 13.

Half of the large-cap stocks in the VN30 basket, which tracks the performance of the 30 largest companies by market capitalisation, suffered losses on February 14 and weighed down the benchmark index.

Among those companies, dairy producer Vinamilk (VNM), Vietcombank (VCB) and Sai Gon Securities Inc (SSI) edged down between 0.4 percent and 0.7 percent.

Other large-cap companies, including insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH), Refrigeration Electrical Engineering Corporation (REE) and KIDO Group (KDC), also recorded losses in share prices after recent gains.

BVH dropped 2.3 percent following a two-day increase of 2.7 percent, REE slid 1.1 percent after rising a total 7.3 percent in a six-day period, and KDC retreated 0.4 percent from a six-day rally of 6 percent.

“The VN Index is undergoing heavy pressure created by investors’ selling after the benchmark index reached the nine-year high level of 700 points,” Bao Viet Securities Corp (BVSC) said in a note.

Meanwhile, mid-cap and penny stocks proved to be attractive to investors. Eight of the 10 most active stocks with the highest trading volume were mid-cap and penny stocks.

The three most active stocks were property developer FLC Group (FLC) with 18.8 million of its shares being exchanged, agriculture real estate group Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAG), and finance corporation Ocean Group JSC (OGC) with around 10.8 million of their shares being traded.

Among the three most active stocks, HAG gained 4.5 percent to advance a total 9.6 percent after the last three sessions after confidence in the company was bolstered by higher rubber prices on global trading and expectations for better performance in 2017.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX Index pulled back 0.3 percent to close at 86.19 points. The northern market index had rallied 1.7 percent in the previous five days.

More than 44.3 million shares were exchanged on the northern bourse, worth 436.5 billion VND.-VNA