Investors are heading for an unhappy new year as stocks continued to dive on Dec. 26 on both of the nation's stock exchanges, despite heavier trading.

On the HCM Stock Exchange, the VN-Index declined for a fourth consecutive session, losing another 1 percent to close at 352.68 points. The value of trades jumped 81.5 percent over the previous session’s total on Dec. 23, reaching 723.8 billion VND (34.1 million USD) on a volume of 42.8 million shares.

Decliners outnumbered advancers by two-to-one, with most blue chips retreating. Of the 10 leading shares by capitalisation, insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH), property developer Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAG) and PetroVietnam Finance (PVF) each bottomed out.

Banking shares bucked the overall downward trend, with the three largest listed banks – Vietinbank (CTG), Eximbank (EIB) and Sacombank (STB) – adding value. STB was also the most-active share on the southern bourse with more than 2.3 million traded.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index also slid by 1.4 percent to 57.17 points, with losers overwhelming gainers by 185-58. However, market value rose by 32 percent to over 264 billion VND (12.5 million USD), as trading volume reached 32.3 million shares.

Shares of securities companies were the biggest losers, with most plunging by 2-4 percent, including Asia Pacific Securities Co (APS), VNDirect .Securities (VND), Kim Long Securities (KLS), Bao Viet Securities (BVS) and Vietinbank Securities (CTS).

Bao Viet Securities Co analyst Pham Van Khoa attributed their heavy declines to news about the difficulties of several brokerages in making timely settlement for client transactions, as well as the limited volume of "short sales" recently.

Stock investors were cruising to an unsatisfying year's end, since most suffered serious losses over the course of the year due to persistent economic problems and anaemic corporate earnings, an analyst with FPT Securities Co wrote in a market report.

"What they care about now is how to stop the losses," he said. /.