A sharp sell-off of blue chips saw the VN-Index on the HCM Stock Exchange surge 2.03 percent to 454.91 points on May 18.

Transactions were more active with 28.5 million shares changing hands, compared to 24.1 million on May 17.

Total value was higher at 537.5 billion VND (25.6 million USD).

In total, 169 stocks dropped in value, while 57 gained and 63 closed unchanged. The biggest losers were Hanoi Container Shipping (VSC), PetroVienam General Service (PET), Licogi 16 (LCG), Thu Duc Water Supply (TDW) and Lilama 18 (LM8).

Half of the ten biggest capitalised stocks hit their floor prices, including insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH), down 5 percent to 85,500 VND; resort developer Vinpearlland (VPL), down 4.7 percent to 62,000 VND; property developer Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAG), down 4.9 percent to 36,800 VND; Masan Group (MSN), down 4.5 percent to 107,000 VND and Vincom (VIC), down 4.2 percent to 113,000 VND.

Blue chips lost 2.61 percent in total, followed by penny stocks, down by 1.19 percent and medium-capitalised stocks lost 0.9 percent, according to Tai Viet Securities' data.

Meanwhile, trading in Vietcombank (VCB) shares, which hit their ceiling price two days ago, slowed, gaining just 3.2 percent to close at 31,900 VND.

However, VCB saw 2.2 million shares change hands, the biggest trade of the day.

Pham Van Duy, an analyst with a Hanoi-based securities firm, said the cut-loss activities might widen to further push down the index. "This is worth considering," he said.

Meanwhile, the repo interest rate on Open Market Operations (OMO) was up 1 percentage point to 15 percent a year on the dong market, which hinted that tightened monetary policies would continue in the long term, said Duy.

"That means money inflow into the securities market continued narrowing," he said.

The HNX-Index declined 0.88 percent during the trading session to finish at 78.86 points. Volume rose to 28.7 million shares, from 24.3 million on May 17, reaching a value of 347.6 billion VND (16.6 million USD). Habubank (HBB) was the most actively traded share, with 2.4 million in shares changing hands. /.