Shares declined for the first time this week on May 23, pulling the benchmark VN-Index down from a six-week high as investors sought quick profits on fears of a volatile market.

Although market confidence improved significantly over the previous sessions of rises, many investors had doubts over the longer term prospects of the current rally and decided to lock in quick profits, analysts of FPT Securities Co wrote in a report at the end of the day.

On the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, the VN-Index measuring 333 stocks and five closed-end funds lost over 4 points, or 0.8 percent, to close the day at 498.22 points.

More than half of the top 30 shares by market capitalisation and liquidity also sank, dragging the VN30 down 1.06 percent on 561.79 points. Vietcombank (VCB) and property giant VinGroup (VIC) led the downturn with a decrease of around 3 percent while insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH) slumped 2.8 percent.

The market volume was up nearly 20 percent over the previous session, however, totalling 80 million shares and fund certificates, worth a combined 1.27 trillion VND (60.5 million USD).

Two construction companies, Tan Tao Investment Industry Corp (ITA) and Licogi 16 (LCG), were the most active codes on May 23 with each having 4.4 million shares exchanged.

In Hanoi , despite a positive opening in the morning, the HNX-Index also dropped 0.81 percent to finish the day at 62.08 points. The HNX30 tracking the top 30 shares here also declined 1.34 percent to stand at 117.42 points.

The trading volume was little changed from a day earlier, reaching 56.6 million shares worth 452.5 billion VND (21.5 million USD).

Sai Gon-Hanoi Bank (SHB) continued to see a whopping 11.6 million shares changing hands, being the most heavily-traded stock nationwide but the bank's shares gave up 2.8 percent at a value of 7,000 VND a share.-VNA