Vietnamese stocks had an off day after economic data from Ho Chi Minh City showed the consumer price index increased sharply from August.

September's index rose 1.13 percent above last month and 3.16 percent over the same period last year.

Shares fell for the sixth day in a row on the Hochiminh Stock Exchange, with the benchmark VN-Index sliding 0.22 percent to 611.93 points.

Trading value declined 42 percent over September 19 session to more than 2.9 trillion VND (136.7 million USD) as the volume of trades reached 143.3 million shares.

The VN30 Index, which tracks the Hochiminh Stock Exchange's top 30 shares, pared down earlier gains, falling 0.2 percent to 653.19 points, although advancers outnumbered decliners by 14-12.

Leading shares, such as PetroVietnam Gas (GAS), property giant Vingroup (VIC) and private equity group Masan (MSN), were weakening fast and entered a downward spiral, according to FPT Securities Company's analysts.

"The risks are out there, and the VN-Index may plunge to 600 points," one of the analysts said. However, they expected there would be a rally soon, led by shares of oil and gas companies.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX Index failed to retain its momentum from the previous session, decreasing 0.75 percent to 88.22 points.

Blue chips in the northern market drove the HNX30 Index down 0.9 percent to 181.45 points.

Transaction value totalled 1 trillion VND (47.1 million USD), declining almost 30 percent from September 19. Construction company Bao Thu (BII) debuted on September 22, closing the day up 15 percent to 13,800 VND per share.

Foreign investors bought a net of 144.45 billion VND (6.8 million USD) in Ho Chi Minh City, but offloaded shares in Hanoi by a margin of 307.9 million VND (14,500 USD).

Meanwhile, the price of gold continued to climb, widening the gap between domestic and world prices to a record high this year of nearly 5 million VND (235,800 USD) per tael.

Two large gold dealers, Bao Tin Minh Chau and Saigon Jewelry, posted selling prices of over 35.9 million VND (1,600 USD) per tael (one tael equals 1.2 ounces).-VNA