Official confirmation of March's soaring inflation rate dampened excitement among stock investors on March 24, with figures released by the General Statistics Office (GSO) showing that consumer prices rose 2.17 percent in March compared to the previous month, the highest single-month inflation rate in 34 months.

Meanwhile, the trade deficit also reached a record high in March, totalling 1.15 billion USD, the GSO revealed.

Stocks reacted on the HCM Stock Exchange, with the VN-Index closing down 1.35 percent to 461.32 points.

Among 139 listed shares losing ground, PetroVietnam Finance (PVF) declined by 3.7 percent, Saigon Securities Inc (SSI) by 2.4 percent, Vietcombank (VCB) by 2.2 percent, Sacombank (STB) by 1.4 percent, and Vinamilk (VNM) by 1 percent.

A few blue chips managed to avoid the fall, including property developer Vincom (VIC), which closed up 2.5 pe cent, and Hoa Phat Group (HPG), up 0.8 percent.

The volume of trades was sluggish, totalling just 27.6 million shares worth 616.8 billion VND (26.7 million USD).

On the Hanoi market, the HNX-Index also declined by 0.88 percent to finish the session at 93.28 points. Volume, although low, exceeded that on the HCM exchange, reaching 32.3 million shares, although the overall value of trades remained lower, at 494.5 billion VND (23 million USD).

Blue chips on this bourse outperformed those on the HCM City market, with only three of the 10 leading shares by capitalisation declining. Bao Viet Securities Co (BVS) closed down 1.06 per cent, while property developer Sacomreal (SCR) and PetroVietnam Construction (PVX) were each off by about a half-a-per cent.

Foreign investors weakened the purchases on the southern bourse, buying a net of just 100,000 shares, while they continued as net sellers on the northern market by a net of 78,200 shares./.