Shares on the nation's stock exchanges saw strong gains on Feb. 8, the first day of trading after the week-long Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, but the value and volume of trades remained sluggish.

On the southern stock exchange, the VN-Index ended the session at 520.69 points, a gain of 1.98 percent over the pre-holiday close. However, the volume of trades declined 34 percent from the previous session to under25 million shares, worth just 707 billion VND (36.3 million USD).

Advancers outnumbered decliners by 175-48, with five of the 10 leading shares by capitalisation hitting their ceiling prices, including insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH), Vietinbank (CTG), Phu My Fertilisers (DPM), property developer Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAG) and PetroVietnam Finance (PVF).

Banking and securities shares rose across the board, including Agribank (AGR), Eximbank (EIB), Vietcombank (VCB), Sacombank (STB), Saigon Securities Inc (SSI) and Sacombank Securities Co (SBS).

Refrigeration & Electrical Engineering Co (REE) was the most active share on volume of 1.3 million, closely followed by CTG and VCB, each seeing volumes of 1.2 million shares.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index rose by 0.97 percent to close at 107.66. Trades totalled nearly 280 billion VND (14.4 million USD) on a volume of 15.2 million shares, a decline of about 30 percent in both value and volume, but gainers still managed to outnumber decliners by a margin of 177-78.

Hanoi Housing Bank (HBB) was the most-active share on the northern bourse. with 983,200 traded.
Foreign investors were net buyers on both stock exchanges, picking up a total of 2.8 million shares, worth a combined net of 84.8 billion VND (4 million USD)./.