Illustrative photo (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnamese shares on February 15 pulled back slightly in the first trading session after Tet on both local markets as volatile crude prices led energy stocks lower.

The benchmark VN Index on the HCM Stock Exchange and the HNX Index on the Hanoi Stock Exchange inched down 0.2 percent each to close at 543.79 points and 76.74 points, respectively.

VN Index had gained 1.5 percent in the previous three sessions and HNX Index had risen 1.5 percent in the previous two trading days.

The energy sector continued to suffer from unstable oil prices, which fell on global markets after a sharp jump on February 12 as Iran exported its first cargo to Europe and Chinese crude imports dropped, a sign demand may be weakening in the world's second-largest economy.

Among energy stocks, PetroVietnam Drilling and Well Services Corporation (PVD) lost 2.2 percent, PetroVietnam Technical Services Corporation (PVS) was down 0.7 percent, and PetroVietnam Mud Drilling Corporation (PVC) fell 1.5 percent.

These three stocks have dropped 5.2 percent, 4 percent and 7.3 percent since the end of last month.

Meanwhile, declining oil prices had a positive impact on local plastic and rubber producers such as Tien Phong Plastic JSC (NTP), Southern Rubber Industry JSC (CSM), An Phat Plastic and Green Environment JSC (AAA) and Rang Dong Plastic JSC (RDP).

Those stocks gained 0.8 per cent, 2.8 percent, 4.2 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively, as lower oil prices helped them reduce expenses to import materials for production from overseas suppliers.

Vietnam's central bank raised its reference mid-point rate for exchange trading band by 12 dong to 21,873 VND for a US dollar.

Market liquidity improved slightly from last trading session before Tet, however, it remained low as investors were unwilling to make investments due to the volatility of global financial markets, Bao Viet Securities Corporation wrote in its report.

Both local exchanges traded nearly 98 million shares worth 1.44 trillion VND (64 million USD), an increase of 14 percent from the last trading session before Tet.-VNA