An investor watching share movements via the online trading board ( Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnamese shares continued to sink into negative territory for a fourth day on May 23 as investor confidence remained low amid fears of a possible US rate hike in June and oil prices extended their falls.

The benchmark VN Index on the HCM Stock Exchange slipped 0.6 percent to finish at 611.03 points. The southern index has tumbled 2.2 percent over the last four trading days.

The HNX Index on the Hanoi Stock Exchange also decreased by 0.6 percent to end at 81.27 points, totalling a four-day loss of 1.1 percent.

Investor confidence remained low as analysts and global traders became more certain that the US central bank will make its first rate hike in June since the last one in December.

A rate hike will boost the US dollar on the global market and force central banks, including Vietnam’s, to weaken their currencies to protect their economies and keep local markets attractive to foreign investors.

On May 23, Vietnam’s central bank cut its daily reference mid-point rate by 5 VND to 21,913 VND for a US dollar. The mid-point rate has remained high over the last four sessions.

As a result, financial firms suffered from low investor confidence and a higher trading rate between Vietnamese dong and the dollar.

Banks led the financial sector down with six out of nine listed banks going down. The biggest losers were Vietcombank (VCB), Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), Vietinbank (CTG) and the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BID).

VCB fell 2.7 percent, ACB slumped 3.1 percent, while CTG and BID went down by 2.3 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.

Additionally, energy stocks stepped further into negative territory after global oil prices went down as Canada plans to resume production after the recent wildfires.

US crude West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was down 1.3 percent to trade at 47.80 USD a barrel and London-traded Brent crude dropped 1.1 percent to trade at 48.20 USD a barrel.

Local energy stocks that saw declines included PetroVietnam Gas Corp (GAS), PetroVietnam Drilling and Well Service Corp (PVD), and PetroVietnam Mud Drilling Corp (PVC), which were slashed 1.7 percent, 3.8 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively.

On the positive side, investors witnessed sharp gains in the textile and garment firm Mirae JSC (KMR) and cell phone retailer Mobile World Investment Corp (MWG), which jumped 5.6 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.

Both local markets exchanged nearly 144 million shares worth 2.3 trillion VND (103 million USD), a quarter lower than last week’s daily trading value.-VNA