Production at the Tien Phong Plastic JSC (Source: VNA) 

Hanoi (VNA)
- Vietnamese shares were mixed on February 23 as some investors took profits on recent gainers.

The benchmark VN Index on the HCM Stock Exchange inched up 0.1 percent to close at 561.28 points, extending its gains to 2.6 percent over the last fourth trading sessions.

On the contrary, the HNX Index on the Hanoi Stock Exchange was down 0.1 percent from its gain on February 22 to end at 78.20 points.

The plastic and rubber sectors weighed on the market. The plastic sector index and the rubber sector index fell 1 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively, as stocks began to drop after making recent gains on low oil prices.

Among plastic and rubber firms, the biggest losers included Southern Rubber Industry JSC (CSM), Rang Dong Plastic JSC (RDP) and Sao Vang Rubber JSC (SRC), which declined by 2.1 percent, 3.2 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively, after these stocks made gains in previous sessions.

CSM rose 8.6 percent in the previous three days, RDP jumped 16.4 percent in four days, and SRC jumped 11 percent in five days.

Meanwhile, the energy sector also fell, led by PetroVietnam Drilling and Well Service Corporation (PVD) and PetroVietnam Coating Corporation (PVB), which dropped 2.8 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively, after global oil prices eased down as investors were uncertain that a production freeze would help reduce a global oil glut.

US benchmark crude West Texas Intermediate (WTI) dropped 1.6 percent to trade at 32.86 USD a barrel and London-traded Brent crude lost 1 percent to trade at 34.33 USD a barrel.

On the opposite side, local markets received a strong boost from the insurance sector, led by BIDV Insurance Corporation (BIC), which surged 6.8 percent after the company last week decided to allow a higher foreign stake. BIC has risen nearly 30 percent in the last four days.

The agricultural sector also helped lift the market, led by plant grower Hoang Anh Gia Lai JSC (HAG) and its member company HAGL Agricultural JSC (HNG), which gained 1.1 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively, extending their rallies as they became attractive to investors after falling to their lowest prices last week since being listed.

Investors on the day traded more than 208.5 million shares worth 2.95 trillion VND (131 million USD), a decrease of 11 percent from February 22's trading value.-VNA