The VN-Index closed essentially unchanged at 409.40 points on July 27, but the value of trades on the HCM Stock Exchange improved, increasing by 66 percent over July 26's session to 510.8 billion VND (24.8 million USD), with 30 million shares changing hands.

However, negotiated trades accounted for over half of this volume, with over 16 million shares exchanged by this method, worth about 252 billion VND (12.2 million USD).

Sacombank (STB) alone saw over 9.9 million shares traded by negotiation, for a value of 138.6 billion VND (6.7 million USD). A rumour circulated on the market on July 27 that Dragon Capital, which holds an 8.7 percent stake in STB, had decided to sell its entire holdings in the lender.

The performance of other blue chips was mixed. Software producer FPT hit its ceiling price, and Vietinbank (CTG) closed up by 4.3 percent, but Phu My Fertilisers (DPM), PetroVietnam Finance (PVF), and insurer Bao Viet Holdings BVH) all declined.

Decliners outnumbered advancers by 113-84 overall, while Investment and Trading of Real Estate Co (ITC) was a surprise as the most-active share, albeit on a volume of just 590,000.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index also remained largely unchanged from the previous session, closing at 69.92. Ninety-five codes managed gains on the northern bourse, while 128 lost ground.

Trading value rose slightly to 175.6 billion VND (8.5 million USD) on a volume of 16.5 million shares, with Kim Long Securities Co (KLS) claiming the highest trading volume nationwide, with 1.5 million shares changing hands.

A number of analysts predicted that second-quarter earnings, which were helping investors differentiate among stocks, could help prop up indices in the short term, but the market would likely decline over the next few sessions without any supporting news.

Bao Viet Securities Co analyst Pham Van Khoa believed the current market doldrums could continue for some time.

"According to market movement principles, if cash flow is weak, the accumulated stocks in investor accounts will lead to pressure to sell as soon as the market recovers a little," Khoa wrote in a note.

Foreign investors increased their buys on July 27, concluding the session as net buyers on both bourses. They acquired a combined net of around a million shares worth 25.8 billion VND (1.3 million USD). /.