The VN-Index saw its biggest loss in three months, hitting a 2015 low at 538.91 points on April 1, a 2.22 percent drop from the previous day as investors increased selling for fear of a further decline.

Ho Chi Minh City's market condition was negative as losers outweighed gainers by 198-38, while 72 ended flat.

Blue chips led the downturn, particularly in oil and gas shares.

PV Gas (GAS), the biggest stock in terms of market value, dived six percent. PetroVietnam Drilling and Wells Service Corp (PVD) plunged by more than four percent.

Other oil stocks - PVC Petro Capital & Infrastructure Investment (PTL), IDICO Petroleum Trading Construction Investment (PXL) and Petroleum Equipment Assembly & Metal Structure (PXS) - lost between 4-6 percent each.

Bank shares, which were previously building momentum in the market, lost their shine as large-cap stocks like Military Bank (MBB), Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BID), Vietinbank (CTG) and Eximbank (EIB) plunged 1.7-3 percent.

The VN30, which tracks the top 30 shares by market value and liquidity, was down 1.81 percent to close at 569.48 points.

Many analysts reckoned that the April 1 fall was the result of a powerful short-selling programme aimed at pushing the market down further, thereby creating pressure for investors and securities companies to sell stocks pledged as collateral (margin call) at cheap prices.

Liquidity improved as both market volume and value climbed 50 percent over the March 31 levels, totaling 129 million shares worth 1.982 trillion VNS (92.6 million USD).

FLC Group (FLC) became the most active stock with a whopping number of 24.4 million shares traded, but its prices plummeted 6.25 percent to end at 10,500 VND a share.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, investors' pessimism dominated the market, pulling the HNX-Index down 2.19 percent to end the session at 80.47 points.

Decliners outnumbered advancers by 156-42 with 167 closing unchanged.

Liquidity also went up in Hanoi with 42.7 million shares exchanged, worth 483.5 billion VND (22.6 million USD), up 10 percent over the previous session.

KLF Joint Venture Global Investment Co (KLF) continued to be the most active code with 8.7 million shares traded but declined by 3.23 percent to settle at 9,000 VND a share.

Foreign investors increased their buys April 1 on both exchanges but their moves had little impact on the market. They were responsible for a combined net buy of 173.2 billion VND (8.1 million USD) worth of shares in the two markets.-VNA