National stocks increased for the fourth straight session on January 9, as s hares of petroleum and securities firms continued to hit new highs.

Many shares of petroleum and securities firms reached their ceiling prices , such as Petroleum Sai Gon Construction And Investment (PSG), PetroVietnam Power Engineering Consulting (PPE), PetroVietnam Engineering Consultancy (PVE), Petrovietnam – Nghe An Investment&Trading (PXA), BIDV Securities (BSI), Agribank Securities (AGR) and Asia-Pacific Securities (APS). Others saw growth of 1.4-8.2 percent.

On the HCM City Stock Exchange, the VN-Index rose 0.6 percent to 516.98 points, successfully breaking its resistance. Trading value climbed 36 percent over January 8 session to 1.36 trillion VND (64.2 million USD) on a volume of 91.5 million shares.

Among the 30 largest shares tracked by the VN30 Index, gainers overwhelmed losers by 21-1, as the index added 0.7 percent to 577.19 points.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index reached 71.16 points, up 1.7 percent to a 17 month record. The HNX30 Index, representing the bourse's top 30 shares, also increased almost 2.3 percent to 135.88 points.

While some 79 million shares were exchanged, trading value jumped to 638.15 billion VND (30.1 million USD).

Also, businesses in various sectors have reported their financial performances for the last year. Thanh Cong Garment Investment and Trading (TCM) estimated its profits increased 31.3 percent, compared to the year's target, while PetroVietnam Gas (GAS), Phu My Fertiliser (DPM), steelmaker Hoa Sen (HSG) and Vietinbank (CTG) posted profits from 580 billion VND (27.3 million USD) to 15 trillion VND (707.5 million USD).

Additionally, foreign investors' net purchases surged by 3.2 times on January 9, compared to the previous trading day, to reach 128.8 billion VND (6 million USD).

According to HCM City Securities' Deputy General Director Trinh Hoai Giang, if foreign ownership is officially lifted, not only in banks but in listed companies, the Vietnamese stock market would attract large amounts of foreign investment.

However, some experts allege that foreign investment would only have short term impacts. "Authorities need other measures," said Sai Gon Asset Management CEO Louis Nguyen The Lu.

"Foreign investment in 2014 will increase, but not strongly, as Vietnam's economy still faces certain difficulties from distressed assets and cross-holdings in the banking system," he added.-VNA