Excitement returned to stock trading on March 23 following the release of a positive World Bank assessment of the domestic economy, helping stocks rebound on both domestic markets.

The World Bank report forecast that the nation's economy would grow 6.3 per cent in 2011, down 0.5 per cent from the year before, but that it would be able to hold its inflation below the double-digit level.

On the HCM Stock Exchange, the VN-Index gained 0.61 per cent over March 22's close to finish the session at 467.64 points. The volume of trades remained low, however, at 33.6 million shares worth a combined VND805.6 billion (US$37.5 million).

Advancers outnumbered decliners by 115-104. All 14 stocks that rose to their ceiling prices were mid- and small-caps, including An Phu Irradiation (APC), Binh Dinh Mineral (BMC), Cotec Investment and Landhouse Construction (CLG), Descon Construction (DCC) and Vien Dong Pharmaceutical (DVD).

Blue chips saw more mixed results. Saigon Securities Inc (SSI) rose by 3.4 per cent, PetroVietnam Finance (PVF) by 2.3 per cent, Ocean Group (OGC) by 2.1 per cent, software producer FPT by 0.9 per cent and Sacombank (STB) by 0.7 per cent, while VietinBank (CTG) plunged by 4.9 per cent and Masan Group (MSN) dropped by 2.3 percent.

The rally across a wide variety of shares was a positive sign for the market, said independent analyst Nguyen Tien Dung.

"However, declining volumes are a barrier to market movement," he said.

Dung noted active trading by foreign investors yesterday, who increased their buys on the southern market, picking up a net of 1.7 million shares, worth a net total of VND44.6 billion ($2.1 million).

On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index gained just over a per cent to finish the day at 94.11 points, largely attributable to a rally of penny stocks.

Those matching their ceiling prices were all small caps, such as Vinacomin-Nui Beo Coal (NBC), Song Da Consulting (SDC) and Viet Nam Reinsurance (VNR). Blue chips continued differentiating the trend with nine of the 10 leading shares by capitalisation falling.

Trading volume slowed to 29 million shares, totalling VND455.8 billion ($21.2 million).

Au Viet Securities Co analysts said that participants in securities trading nowadays were mostly experienced traders whose profit-taking was rapid – making any market rally likely to be short-lived./.