Profit-taking increased last week, but high demand for shares helped narrow the declines of indices and maintain investor morale. Trading by foreign investors contributed to motivating the market.

On the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange, the VN-Index shed 0.02 percent to 500.75 points, while the VN30 tracking the bourse's top 30 shares rallied 0.2 percent to reach 560.57 points.

The average value of trades exceeded 1.2 trillion VND (56.6 million USD) per session, rising 36.6 percent compared to the preceding week.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index closed at 61.82 points. Trading value and volume averaged 300.55 billion VND (14.1 million USD) and 37.2 million shares, jumping around 48 percent over the previous week.

There was widespread demand for shares in many sectors including real estate, construction and minerals. Favoured stocks among these industries were Tan Tao (ITA), FLC (FLC), Hoang Quan (HQC), Tu Liem Urban Development (NTL) and Licogi 16 (LCG) [real estate and construction]; Na Ri Hamico (KSS) and Binh Thuan (KSA) [minerals].

Blue chips also attracted cash. Private equity group Masan (MSN), insurer Bao Viet (BVH), property developers Vingroup (VIC) and Hoang Anh Gia Lai, Vinamilk (VNM) and Vietinbank (CTG) were actively traded.

Foreign investors continued to be net buyers for the entire week by a total margin of 360 billion VND (16.9 million USD). Their activities played a vital part in stabilising investor sentiment in sessions when profit-taking occurred.

Although the nation's monthly consumer price index increased, the rate was lower than forecast and had little impact on the market.

Third-quarter financial reports for several blue chips showed mostly positive results. "This will create a certain psychological support," commented PetroVietnam Securities Co analyst Dao Hong Duong.

PetroVietnam Gas (GAS), reported a profit of nearly 10 trillion VND (471.6 million USD) during the first nine months this year, climbing 36 percent compared to the same period last year.

Steelmaker Hoa Phat (HPG) earned a profit of 469 billion VND (22.1 million USD) in the third quarter, up 62.4 percent over last year. It expects to profit around 1.7-1.8 trillion VND (80.1-84.9 million USD) this year.

In the first nine months of this year, PetroVietnam General Services (PET), software developer FPT (FPT) and Vinamilk posted profits between 133.4 billion VND (6.2 million USD) and 5 trillion VND (235.8 million USD).

Duong predicted trading in Ho Chi Minh City would not show a clear trend. The VN-Index would continue to fluctuate between 490-510 points. "Meanwhile, the HNX-Index will perform more positively towards an uptrend to the 63 point level," said the analyst.

Nor would blue chips signal a clear trend. Trading would focus on mid-cap and penny stocks, Duong added. "Some small stocks have dramatically increased and revealed short-term risks".-VNA