Shares lost ground on both of the nation's stock exchanges on the first trading session of the new year, despite strong performances by global stocks.

On the HCM Stock Exchange, the VN-Index closed off on Jan. 3 by 0.44 percent to 350 points – with nearly half of all listed stocks losing value. The total value of trades plummeted by 60.4 percent over the previous session, totaling just 320.5 billion VND (15.2 million USD), while volume retreated by over 63 percent to 20.6 million shares.

"The VN-Index is constantly undergoing alternately increasing and decreasing sessions – which indicates that investors have not yet established a clear attitude towards the market," said Kim Eng Securities Co analyst Vu Thi Thuy Hang.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index plunged by 3.3 percent to 56.79 points, even as gainers outnumbered losers by 121-89. Market value reached 117.7 billion VND (5.55 million USD) on a volume of 14.7 million shares.

PetroVietnam Construction Co (PVX) was the most-active share nationwide, with 1.4 million traded. PVX concluded the session up 3 percent to 6,800 VND per share.

"Although there have been some positive changes in prices and technical indicator lines, the market trend remains declining," Hang said. Ending a tough year, the Vietnamese stock market lost 10 billion USD in value despite the increasing number of listed firms, she said.

Investors appeared to have shifted to gold, lifting domestic gold prices to their highest level in the past 10 days. Gold traders posted sell prices of around 43.7 million VND (2,080 USD) per tael. (A tael is equivalent to 1.2 ounces) on the afternoon of Jan. 3./.