Heavy profit-taking cut short the rally on both of the nation's stock exchanges on March 7, with the VN-Index declining by 2.67 percent to close the session at 445.00 points.

Over 154 million shares were traded on the HCM Stock Exchange, worth nearly 2.2 trillion VND (104.7 million USD), but decliners outnumbered advancers by a margin of 152-105. Only six of the 30 stocks included in the VN30 Index posted gains, sending it down 3.15 percent to 508.41.

Bank shares, which have led recent sessions, declined in the morning session, with four of the five listed banks bottoming out. Only Military Bank (MBB) closed up, becoming the most-active share on the southern bourse, with 15.8 million changing hands. MBB recently received approval from the State Bank of Vietnam to sell a stake to military-run telecom Viettal and increase its charter capital by 1 trillion VND to 10 trillion VND (476.2 million USD).

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index closed down by a less dramatic 0.8 percent to 75.20.

Gainers continued to outnumber losers by 158-146 on the northern bourse, and the volume of trades remained high at over 183 million shares. The value of trades was nearly 1.65 trillion VND (78.6 million USD).

Habubank (HBB) was again the most-active share nationwide, with over 38 million traded. HBB closed at its ceiling price of 7,100 VND per share.

Bao Viet Securities Co analyst Nguyen Xuan Binh predicted this new downturn could be sustained and substantial, but PetroVietnam Securities Co analyst Dao Hong Duong said that investors are likely to disburse some of their money as soon as the market retests a new support level.

"To reduce the risks, small investors might want to priortise high-liquidity stocks like VN30 stocks and bank shares," Duong said.

"In the medium and long term, the upward trend will remain," said VietCapital Securities Co analyst Nguyen Sy Ha.

Foreign investors shifted to being net buyers on both bourses on March 6 by a combined margin of about 132 billion VND (6.3 million USD). Last week foreign investors ran up four sessions as net buyers but finally concluded the week as net sellers after unloading shares heavily on March 1. -VNA