Shares on the HCM Stock Exchange rallied on January 19, with the VN-Index closing up by about 3 percent to 373.43 points, the best day for the Index in the past seven months.

"While many others think that the market will recover after the second quarter of this year, I believe now's the time," commented one investor, who said he decided to retain his portfolio instead of cashing out. "The three stocks that I'm investing in were down some days ago, but now there is a big change in my account."

Despite the gains, the value of trades on January 19 declined slightly from the previous session to 335.7 billion VND (16 million USD), although volume increased by 27 percent to 23 million shares.

"The lower trading value was due to investor psychology as the market is about to close for a nine-day lunar new year holiday," said Kim Eng Securities Co analyst Nguyen Thanh Lam.

He expressed hopes that values will surge again after the holiday.

Blue chips performed well on January 19, with half of the 10 leading shares by capitalisation hitting their ceiling prices, including insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH), Vietinbank (CTG), real estate developers Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAG) and Vincom (VIC), and Phu My Fertilisers (DPM). About 100 other stocks also reached their ceiling prices.

Lam recommended investments in DPM and HCM City Securities Co (HCM), which concluded on January 19's session up 3.5 percent to 14,900 VND per share.

Japan Vietnam Medical Instrument Co (JVC) surprised the market by becoming the most-active share on the day, with 1.46 million changing hands.

Trading improved on the Hanoi Stock Exchange, with value rising by nearly 27 percent to 162.3 billion VND (7.7 million USD) on a volume of 22 million shares. The HNX-Index added 2.1 percent to close at 58.41.

PetroVietnam Construction Co (PVX) was the most-active share nationwide with 1.76 million traded./.