Energy pulls Vietnam stock markets down hinh anh 1Illustrative Image (Source
Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnamese shares retreated on March 24 on both local markets from gains on the day earlier as energy stocks declined on lower oil prices and banks fell on low investor confidence.

The benchmark VN Index on the HCM Stock Exchange dropped 0.7 percent to close at 570.66 points, and the HNX Index on the Hanoi Stock Exchange declined by 0.4 percent to finish at 80.23 points.

Energy stocks declined as crude prices extended falls for a second day after the US government reported its oil stockpile had reached its highest level, easing expectations on an agreed production cut that could be made between some OPEC members and other producers next month.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and London-traded Brent crude fell 1.8 percent each to trade at 39.09 USD and 39.73 USD a barrel, respectively.

WTI has dropped 5.7 percent in the last two trading days while Brent crude has fallen 4.9 percent.

Among energy stocks, PetroVietnam Gas Corporation (GAS) declined by 2.9 percent, PetroVietnam Technical Service Corporation (PVS) and PetroVietnam Coating Corporation (PVB) slumped 3 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively.

Additionally, banks returned to negative territory after US central bank officials gave hints on more than one rate hike for this year, with the first possibly in April.

Expectations on US rate hikes have strengthened the US dollar in recent trading sessions, putting pressure on Vietnam's central bank to weaken the Vietnamese dong, and has lowered investor confidence in local stocks.

On the day, the central bank raised its reference mid-point rate for exchange trading band by 21 VND to 21,882 VND for a dollar. The mid-point rate has gained 44 VND this week.

In the banking sector, Vietcombank (VCB) lost 1.9 percent, the Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BID) fell 2.3 percent, and Sacombank (STB) dropped 2.8 percent.

Other stocks that also helped pull the markets down included insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH), HCM City Securities Corporation (HCM) and property developer Vingroup JSC (VIC).

Both local markets traded more than 224 million shares worth 3.24 trillion VND (144 million USD), an increase of nearly one-fifth from the trading value on March 23.-VNA