Stocks closed on July 16 in the red on sluggish trading, ending three consecutive days of rises.

On the HCM Stock Exchange, the benchmark VN-Index slid 0.72 percent to close at nearly 414 points, with trading value topping 560.6 billion VND (26.7 million USD), down 27 percent from previous session's figure.

Decliners doubled advancers, led by blue chips.

Twenty-four of the top 30 shares by market capitalisation and liquidity sank while only three climbed. Gainers included Vietinbank (CTG), up 2.9 percent; Phu Nhuan Jewelry (PNJ), up 0.2 percent; and Sacombank (STB), up 0.5 percent.

The VN30 Index was down 0.76 percent to 488.63 points.

The Military Bank (MBB), the fifth largest listed bank, was the most active stock on a total trade of 2 million shares, rising 1.45 percent to end at 14,000 USD (0.67 USD).

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the benchmark HNX-Index also lost 1.12 percent to close the July 16 session at 69.78 points on a total value of 304.6 billion VND (14.5 million USD).

Large-cap shares on the Hanoi bourse led the market fall, with the HNX30 Index also down 2.3 percent to 131.43 points.

Losers overwhelmed gainers by 154-72 overall.

VNDirect Securities (VND), with over 4.6 million shares changing hands, was still the most active code in Hanoi on July 16, declining 2.9 percent to VND10,000 a share (0.48 USD).

"It is rational for investors to become more cautious after an impressive rallying streak from a near five-month low," FPT Securities Co's analysts wrote on the company's website, adding that without more positive news, investor confidence would not be sustained for long.

"The market needs time to set up a new trend," they said.

Investors are now waiting for enterprises to disclose their business results for the first half of this year. Many securities companies have already posted results and shown profits, but listed firms in general are forecast to post mixed results in the current economic slowdown.

Foreign investors were net buyers on both exchanges, picking up combined shares worth 42 billion USD (2 million USD).-VNA