National stock exchanges sank into the red on Jan. 4 but the pace of decline was slow.

The VN-Index on the HCM Stock Exchange dropped 0.33 percent, ending at 348.84 points, with 96 out of the total of 275 codes posting gains.

Trading value, however, marched 7.6 percent higher at 344.8 billion VND (16.4 million USD) compared to Jan. 3’s level while trading volume reached 25.4 million shares.

Of the 10 leading shares by capitalisation, only Vietinbank (CTG) hit the permitted increase of 5 percent, concluding at VND17,800 per share. Others to perform well, included banking shares Eximbank (EIB) and Sacombank (STB), which edged up 1.4 and 3.2 percent respectively, and property developer Vincom (VIC) up 0.5 percent.

Meanwhile, PetroVietnam Finance (PVF) bottomed out and the majority of blue chips retreated or closed unchanged.

With more than 2.8 million shares traded, STB became the most active stock nationwide. Notably, Refrigeration Electrical Engineering Corp (REE) on Jan. 3 announced to have registered to sell more than 42 million STB shares it was holding. REE on Jan. 4 strongly rebounded along with STB.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index finished 0.63 percent down to 56.43 points.

Losers outnumbered gainers by 133-86.

The market value climbed 37.4 percent over the previous day's level, totalling 161.7 billion VND (7.7 million USD) on a volume of 19.6 million shares. This was mainly due to selling pressure while many shares listed on the northern bourse failed to find buyers.

"The existing money in the market is now focusing only on some stocks with good liquidity," said Bao Viet Securities Co analyst Pham Van Khoa.

However, the flow of money showed signs of declining, he said.

Market movements on Jan. 4 exposed a number of investors who wanted to leave the market, Khoa said. "There will hardly be any significant changes on both bourse, and market value will still remain at low levels."

Foreign investors were buyers in both cities, picking a combined margin of nearly 10 billion VND (476,200 USD). /.