The VN-Index gained another 0.24 percent to close at 461.13 points on March 31, but trading on the HCM Stock Exchange remained in the doldrums, declining 19 percent from the previous day's session to just 541.8 billion VND (25.9 million USD), on a volume of under 28 million shares.

Decliners outnumbered gainers by 114-94, with 11 codes rising to their ceiling prices and 11 dropping to their floor prices. Vien Dong Pharmaceuticals (DVD) hit the ceiling at 14,200 VND (0.68 USD) after its general shareholders meeting approved a plan to sell off assets to pay debts. Binh Dinh Minerals (BMC) also rose to the ceiling at 28,800 VND (1.38 USD) after a few sessions of heavy declines.

Blue chips performed erratically. While Vietinbank (CTG), Eximbank (EIB) and insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH) all lost value, shares of Masan Group (MSN) rose by over 3 percent, and Sacombank (STB) and PetroVietnam Finance each closed up by about half a percent.

Saigon Securities Inc (SSI) and Sacombank (STB) were the most-active shares on the HCM City bourse, with volumes of nearly 1.3 million each.

Petrol price hike on March 30 was the second time since early this year the Finance Ministry officially adjusted the retail petrol prices upward, and Nguyen Tien Thoa, director of the ministry's Price Management Department, said this decision would make the inflation rate in April surge by 0.4 percent.

Analysts with HCM City Securities Co wrote in a market analysis that the surprising hike in petrol prices was taken in stride by investors.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index closed unchanged at 91.47 points, while both the value and volume of trades declined by around 21 percent to a meagre 351.6 billion VND (16.8 million USD), with 24.5 million shares changing hands.

Advancers outnumbered decliners by 157-104, however, with VNDirect Securities Co (VND) becoming the most-active share on a volume of 1.8 million. VND closed up 1.3 percent to 15,200 (0.73 USD).

Foreign investors continued to be net buyers on March 31 on both national stock exchanges, picking up a combined net of over 1.9 million shares, worth a net of 56 billion VND (2.7 million USD). /.