Trading activities at the Hanoi Stock Exchange (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnamese shares fell sharply on January 18 on both local exchanges as energy stocks slumped after crude prices set fresh twelve-year lows.

The benchmark VN Index on the HCM Stock Exchange fell 3.1 percent to close at 526.37 points, bringing losses over the last four sessions to 6.7 percent.

The HNX Index on the Hanoi Stock Exchange dropped 2.8 percent to finish at 73.26 points, extending three-day losses to 4.4 percent.

Energy stocks continued their recent declines after crude prices dropped to fresh twelve-year lows on global markets.

The US benchmark crude West Texas Intermediate (WTI) lost 1.2 percent to trade at 29.07 USD a barrel and has decreased 22 percent since the end of last year. London-traded Brent crude was down 1.3 percent to trade at 28.56 USD a barrel and has fallen 23 percent.

Local energy stocks that were hit by low crude prices included PetroVietnam Gas Corporation (GAS), which fell 7 percent, PetroVietnam Drilling and Well Services Corporation (PVD), which slumped 6.3 percent, and fuel dealer Petrolimex Gas Corporation (PGC), which slid 5.7 percent.

Meanwhile, investor confidence remained low after Asian stocks fell following a sell-off on the US stock markets last week, putting pressure on local large-cap stocks, Saigon-Hanoi Securities Corporation (SHS) wrote in a report.

Financial firms continued to suffer the most from low investor confidence. Vietcombank (VCB) lost 4.9 percent, insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH) fell 3.6 percent, brokerage firm Saigon Securities Incorporate (SSI) dropped 3.5 percent, and the Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BID) slumped 6.7 percent.

Other large-cap stocks that also helped pull the markets down included Vinamilk (VNM), which fell 2.5 percent, software provider FPT Corporation (FPT), which lost 2.6 percent, and fishery firm Hung Vuong JSC (HVG), which was down 5.8 percent.

The stock markets in January 18 traded nearly 230 million shares worth 3.1 trillion VND (138 million USD), an increase of nearly 50 percent over last week's daily average trading value and higher than last year's daily average trading value of 111 million USD.-VNA