An investor watches share movements at Tan Viet Securities Co. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Shares slumped in the first session of this week on the two national stock exchanges as leading stocks lost steam on investor caution ahead of the upcoming long Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.

The benchmark VN-Index on the HCM Stock Exchange was down 1.04 percent to close at 677.94 points. The gauge decreased in the last two weekend sessions.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index inched down 0.34 percent to end at 83.05 points.

The market condition was negative with the number of losing stocks overwhelming gaining ones by 272-137 while another 293 closed flat on the two markets.

Large-cap stocks led the market downturn as up to 24 of the top 30 largest shares by market capitalisation and liquidity in HCM City lost value and only four advanced.

Banks were among the biggest losers despite impressive earnings reports.

The top four largest listed lenders on the HCM City’s bourse, such as Vietcombank (VCB), Vietinbank (CTG), BIDV (BID) and Military Bank (MBB) were all on the defensive.

Other leading stocks such as dairy giant Vinamilk (VNM), property developer VinGroup (VIC), PV Gas (GAS), IT company FPT Group (FPT), steelmakers Hòa Phát Group (HPG) and Hoa Sen Group (HSG) also declined.

The money inflows seemed to be more cautious, which was partly evident in the weakening of leading stocks over the past two falling sessions, stock analysts at FPT Securities Co wrote in a note.

“The VN-Index may continue its downward adjustment this week, especially when the market lacks supporting news and the long Tet holiday is around the corner,” they said.

The stock market will enter a seven-day holiday after eight more sessions. Analysts at Vietnam Investment Securities Co said investors would likely sell shares ahead of the holiday to reduce risks as well as loan fees.

“This move can add pressure on the market in early sessions of the week and focus on the shares which have surged in the past rally,” they wrote in a daily market report.

A total of nearly 125 million shares worth a combined 2.4 trillion VND (107 million USD) were traded on the two markets.

Foreign investors were net buyers on January 16 for a total value of 73.6 billion VND on the two exchanges, of which their buys in the Hanoi market surpassed the value on the HCM City exchange with 41.7 billion VND and 31.8 billion VND, respectively. – VNA