Shares retreated on July 19 from July 18's modest rally on the HCM Stock Exchange, while stocks on the Hanoi exchange tumbled for a fifth consecutive session.

ACB Securities Co's analyst Ho Ba Tinh said the stock market was weakening significantly. "The expectation that interest rates would fall has been shaken," Tinh said.

Meanwhile, officials from the Ministry of Finance's price management unit have hinted that inflation figures to be released for July would indicate a sharp increase.

Stock trading, as a consequence, was sluggish, with the value of trades on the HCM City market reaching only 274.9 billion VND (13.3 million USD) on a volume of 16.7 million shares – a 21 percent decrease in value and a 14 percent decrease in volume from the previous session and the lowest market value in the past 50 days.

Accordingly, the VN-Index dived 1.4 percent to close at 410.12 points, with over half of listed stocks losing ground.

Blue chips failed to sustain the VN-Index, as food producer Masan Group (MSN), bottomed out and insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH), property developers Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAG) and Vincom (VIC), PetroVietnam Finance (PVF) and Sacombank (STB) all tumbled.

Shares of BIDV Securities Co (BSI) saw their first day of trading on the HCM Stock Exchange, closing at 10,900 VND, up from its reference price of 10,300 VND.

BSI plans to increase its chartered capital in the fourth quarter from 865 billion VND to 1.2 trillion VND and will sell a 10-per-cent stake to strategic partners. It has targeted a net profit of 9.5 billion VND (461,200 USD) this year, off from 11.43 billion VND (554,850 USD) in 2010.

Shares of engineering company COMA 18 (CIG) also saw their first day of trading, closing at 10,800 VND, a decline from the 13,500 VND reference price. CIG, with a charter capital of 120 billion VND (5.8 million USD), posted a net profit last year of 16.5 billion VND, expected to rise this year to 51 billion VND (2.5 million USD).

On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index lost another 0.4 percent to conclude the session at 70.74. The value of trades reached only 192.4 billion VND (9.3 million USD) on a volume of just 19 million shares. Losers outnumbered gainers by 155-78.

PetroVietnam Construction Corp (PVX) was the most-active share nationwide, with 1.8 million traded, followed by Kim Long Securities Co (KLS) with a volume of 1.7 million shares and VNDirect Securities Co (VND) with 1.3 million shares traded. These three shares together accounted for 25 percent of the total volume on the northern exchange. /.