Although the nation's monthly consumer price index continued to slide, shares still lost ground on July 24.

The General Statistics Office announced CPI this month decreased 0.29 percent over last month. However, "the market shifted to a negative trend very fast," said BIDV Securities Co analyst Hoang Anh Tuan. Demand for shares was only at a low level, he added.

"With such movements, holding shares is increasingly risky."

Reaching 415.63 points, the VN-Index on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange edged down 1.5 percent.

Around three-quarters of the listed stocks retreated.

Most blue chips tumbled; notably, insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH) and HO CHI MINH City Infrastructure Investment Co (CII) bottomed out. Of the 30 shares tracked by the VN30, only software giant FPT (FPT) added 4.5 percent. The index lost 0.9 percent to 491.34 points.

The southern bourse's overall market value fell 16 percent to 659.4 billion VND (31.4 million USD), as trading volume reached only 88.3 percent of July 23's level, standing at 44.8 million shares.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index slid 2.3 percent compared to the previous day's close, reaching 69.84 points.

Losers largely overwhelmed gainers by 187-54.

Trading slightly declined to a value and volume of 478.9 billion VND (22.8 million USD) and 51.4 million shares.

The HNX30, tracking Hanoi 's top shares, decreased 3.7 percent to 132.31 points.

PetroVietnam Construction Co (PVX) saw a surge in trading volume to 9.3 million shares. It closed yesterday at its floor price of 8,900 VND per share.

The company reported a huge loss of nearly 300 billion VND (14.2 million USD) in the second quarter of this year due to soaring financial and corporate management costs. Accumulated for the first six months of this year, PVX lost 293 billion VND (13.9 million USD) while making a profit of 87.46 billion VND (4.1 million USD) in the same period last year.

The results of a recent inspection conducted by the oil and gas giant PetroVietnam showed that PVX was facing a financial imbalance, with some of its subsidiaries at risk of bankruptcy.

At that time, PVX had a charter capital of 2.5 trillion VND (119 million USD) and short-term liability of over 9.6 trillion VND (457 million USD).

The imbalance was caused by the use of short-term funds to finance long-term investment. In addition, macro-economic problems resulted in inefficient investments in its subsidiaries and affiliates, especially in real estate firms, while it was hard for PetroVietnam's construction arm to sell stakes in these units.

"The business environment in the second quarter really disappointed investors," noted BIDV Securities Co analysts.-VNA