Profit-taking pressure to earn "lucky cash" on the first trading day of 2015 dragged shares down on both stock exchanges in the country on January 5.

On the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, the VN-Index lost 0.22 percent to close at 544.45 points, while the VN30, which tracks the top 30 shares by market value and liquidity, dipped 0.33 percent to end at 599.69 points.

Blue chips were the main drag with many large-cap shares losing value.

PV Gas (GAS), the biggest stock in term of market capitalisation, fell below 70,000 VND to finish the session at 69,000 VND (3.22 USD) a share, a drop of 2.1 percent from last week's close. Meanwhile, PetroVietnam Drilling and Wells Service Corp (PVD) slumped 5.6 percent to settle at 61,000 VND (2.85 USD) a share.

Other firms like PhuMy Fertilizer (DPM), Hoang Anh Gia Lai Co (HAG), Hoa Sen Group (HSG), HCM Securities Co (HCM), Saigon Securities Inc (SSI) and Refrigeration Electrical Engineering Corp (REE) all closed lower.

A lackluster trading atmosphere prevailed as both market volume and value declined 20 percent from the last trading day, totaling nearly 96 million shares worth 1.5 trillion VND (70.1 million USD).

Real estate stocks like FLC Group (FLC), Ocean Group (OGC) and Tan Tao Investment Industry Corp (ITA) remained the most active codes. FLC led the market with 19 million shares traded, rising 1 percent to close at 11,000 VND a share.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index also decreased 0.29 percent to end at 82.74 points after the four-day holiday.

Oil and gas stocks like PetroVietnam Construction Corporation (PVX), PetroVietnam Technical Services Corp (PVS), PetroVietnam Drilling Mud Corporation (PVC) and PetroVietnam Engineering (PVE) were offloaded heavily as global oil prices continued to plunge to a five and a half year low.

PVX was the most heavily-traded stock with 8.3 million shares, surging 8.3 percent to finish at 5,200 VND a share.

Market volume also went down 20 percent from the previous session to reach 53 million shares while the value of trades declined 10 percent to 704 billion VND (nearly 33 million USD).

Analysts see bright market prospects this year on the back of improved economic conditions, acceleration of equitisation of State-owned enterprises and introduction of new investment tools in the market.

Foreign investors ended up net buyers yesterday on the two exchanges, responsible for a modest purchase value of 21 billion VND (1 million USD).-VNA