Shares retreated on August 8 on both national exchanges, with decliners overwhelming advancers amid growing uncertainty over both the global and domestic economies.

The domestic gold price escalated on August 8 and hit a new all-time high of 44.3 million VND (2,150 USD) per tael, while global equities markets responded negatively to ratings agency Standard & Poor's unprecedented downgrade of the US sovereign credit rating from AAA to AA+.

Gold also hit a new global record of over 1,700 USD per ounce. (One tael is equivalent to 1.2 ounces.)

A super-heated local gold market on Aug. 8 overshadowed the National Assembly's passage late last week of tax breaks for securities investors.

"Investors seeking safe investment haven in gold will affect capital flows into the securities and real estate markets," said Phan Dung Khanh, head of analysis for Kim Eng Securities Co. "Soaring gold prices suggest the economy is still in difficult times and the stock market is unlikely to improve in the short term."

On the HCM Stock Exchange on August 8, the VN-Index closed at 396.41 points, a decline of 1.12 percent from August 5's session. The value of trades remained meagre at 462.7 billion VND (22.5 million USD), with 24.7 million shares changing hands.

Mid-cap and small-cap shares were the biggest losers, losing 2.29 percent and 1.26 percent on average, respectively, while blue chips declined by just 0.68 percent, according to figures from the financial website Sales during August 8's session came mostly from small investors who aimed to convert shares into cash to buy gold, Vietstock analysts said.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index fell by 1.8 percent to end the day at 67.32 points. The value of trades totalled just 228.7 billion VND (11.1 million USD), a decline of over 33 percent from Friday's value, with only 23.4 million shares traded.

Foreign investors concluded as net sellers on both exchanges, unloading a combined 52 billion VND (2.5 million USD) worth of shares. /.