Both of the nation's stock markets opened the new week on a downturn on Feb. 14, in a belated reaction to the State Bank of Vietnam ’s further devaluation of had further devalued the Vietnamese dong.

News of upcoming hikes in electricity rates and petrol prices also bruised investor expectations of eased inflation. The Government affirmed that higher electrical rates would be applied next month, with the Ministry of Industry and Trade proposing an increase of 18 percent and the Ministry of Finance a more modest rise of 11 percent.

On the HCM Stock Exchange on Feb. 14, the VN-Index declined by 1.14 percent to conclude the session at 514.05 points. The value of trades remained largely unchanged, reaching 884 billion VND (42.7 million USD) on a volume of 35.5 million shares.

Losers outnumbered gainers by 150-67 overall, although electricity shares were big gainers yesterday. Khanh Hoa Power (KHP), Ba Ria Thermal Power (BTP) and Vinh Son-Song Hinh Hydropower (VSH) hit their ceiling prices, while Pha Lai Thermal Power (PPC) and Can Don Hydro Power (SJD) both rose by 1.6 percent.

"Electricity rate hikes will directly impact the profits of power companies, and investors expect this will lift these companies' share prices," said Le Dac An, head of Tan Viet Securities Co's investment department.

Blue chip shares continued to slump, however. Among the 10 leading shares by capitalisation on the HCM City market, only shares of property developer Vincom (VIC) increased – hitting their ceiling price of 106,000 VND per share – while others declined in value.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, meanwhile, the HNX-Index closed off by 0.4 percent to 107.38 points.

The value of trades rose by 30 percent over Feb. 11's session, reaching more than 477.6 billion VND (20.7 million USD) on a volume of 25.6 million shares.

Decliners outnumbered advancers by 157-106.

Electricity shares also rose on the northern bourse. Nam Mu Hydropower (HJS) hit its ceiling price while Ninh Binh Thermal Power (NBP) increased by 4.1 percent.

Foreign investors were net sellers on the HCM City exchange for a third day, unloading 34 billion VND (1.6 million USD) worth of shares, but they remained net buyers on the Hanoi bourse by a net of 14.5 billion VND (690,500 USD)./.