On the HCM Stock Exchange last week, the VN-Index concluded the week at 430.32 points, a net gain of 1.2 percent over the previous week, after reaching a low point during the week of 424.72.

The value of trades plummeted significantly, however, with the average daily value of trades reaching only 424.4 billion VND (20.6 million USD), a 20-percent plunge from the previous week's level.

"Looking on the bright side, it is the very sluggish trades that may reverse the short-term trend, allowing the Index to rise even if there is just a small increase in demand during a session," said Au Viet Securities Co analysts, warning investors, however, to be aware of speculative cash flows in such a session.

The southern exchange's benchmark index had four sessions of advances last week, retreating during only one session.

The rebound mostly supported blue chips, with shares such as insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH), real estate developer Vincom (VIC) and food producer Masan (MSN) sustaining the VN-Index despite a lack of other supportive information.

"However, this week these shares may tumble after posting gains, which could result in another great plunge of the VN-Index," said FPT Securities analyst Nguyen Van Quy. "Whenever the VN-Index nears 430 points, there is always a surge in sell orders."

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange last week, the HNX-Index declined for three out of five sessions. It nonetheless closed the week at 72.84 points, 0.12 percent higher than the previous Friday's close.

Market value sagged, however, dipping 26 percent from the previous week to an average daily value of 241.7 billion VND (11.7 million USD).

BIDV Securities Co analyst Tong Minh Tuan predicted that the HNX-Index would decline further in the coming week, only to recover once it fell as low as 70 points.

Earlier last week, the central bank cut interbank interest rates applicable to open market operations from 15 to 14 percent.

"The move did not bring any new information but mainly acted as an orientation to a cautious but flexible tight monetary policy," said Tuan.

Following the decrease in the interbank interest rate, an additional 4 trillion VND (194 million USD) was pumped into the nation's stock market last week.

"It can be inferred that the central bank is finding a new way to raise capital when the period for refinancing and rediscounts is coming to an end," Tuan said.

However, he also warned that any rallies would be short-lived and it would be difficult for the market to attract sustained cash flows.

In addition, as companies were about to announce their first-half earnings, investors preferred to keep their powder dry rather than buy in, commented Au Viet Securities Co analysts.

"With the common difficulties throughout the economy, firms will be unlikely to report profitable results," they said, predicting that investors would continue to keep a cautious eye on market movements.

Foreign investors were sellers on the HCM City last week, unloading a net of 60 billion VND (2.9 million USD) worth of shares, with Vinamilk (VNM) consituting the lion's share. Meanwhile, in Hanoi , foreign investors were net buyers of a mere 9 billion VND (437,000 USD) worth of shares./.