Stocks opened the new week in negative territory on both stock exchanges on Dec. 12 as investors continued to unload shares on fears of steeper declines.

On the HCM Stock Exchange, the VN-Index finished off 0.49 percent from Dec.9’s close, plunging to a 32-month low of 375.30 points.

Driven by heavy sales, the value of trades rose 28 per cent to 560.9 billion VND (26.7 million USD), while the volume of trades increased by 19 percent to over 37.7 million shares.

Sacombank (STB), the most-active share yesterday with 3.26 million traded, hit its ceiling price of 14,800 VND (0.70 USD) per share. The bank has only four more sessions in which to complete its registered plan to buy back 100 million shares. It has not released any information about the specific quantity it has succeeded in repurchasing, but it reacquired about 55 million shares through negotiated trades last month.

Of the 10 leading shares by capitalisation, Eximbank (EIB) and property developer Vincom (VIC) yesterday each posted gains of about 1.2 percent. These shares failed to lift the Index, however, as decliners outnumbered advancers overall by 147-84, with other blue chips all tumbling.

“Investors now lack confidence in catching the falling knife,” an FPT Securities Co analyst wrote in a note. “The market continues to nosedive, and any snap rally is usually followed by a prolonged downturn.” Investors were also increasingly concerned with the phenomenon of foreign investors divesting from Vietnam’s market, said SJC Securities Co analyst Lam Khanh Hai.

“Investors suspect that foreigners will try to drive up the market in order to unload shares,” Hai said.

Since the beginning of the month, foreign investors have sold over 22 million shares on the HCM City market, worth a combined 600 billion USD (28.6 million USD), while they have bought up 16 million shares worth 487 million VND (23.2 million USD). They concluded Dec. 12 as net sellers on both bourses, responsible for a combined net sale of over 9.4 billion VND (447,600 USD) worth of shares.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index lost 0.6 percent to close at 61.36 points. Trading remained sluggish, with just over 26 million shares changing hands, worth 224.9 billion VND (10.7 million USD). Decliners overwhelmed advancers by 165-63.

Investors focused trades on highly liquid stocks in the securities and petroleum sectors. Trang An Securities (TAS) rose to its ceiling price, while Petrovietnam Technical Services (PVS) gained 1.5 percent. Kim Long Securities (KLS) slumped by 2 percent even as it became the most-active share on the Hanoi bourse, with over 2.4 million traded. /.