Shares extended their losing streak during the Sept. 6's session, following concerns over economic growth potential. Under a draft plan for the nation's economy, the Ministry of Planning and Investment announced it will target economic growth next year of only 6 percent.

Meanwhile, gross domestic product (GDP) grew by only 4.8 percent in the first nine months of this year, the ministry said, a figure that was expected to rise to 5.3-5.6 percent by the end of the year. Inflation for the year was expected to reach 7-8 percent.

"While the economic growth targets can be achieved, curbing inflation at only 7-8 percent is rather unrealistic," commented ACB Securities Co analyst Cao Tan Phat. "The prices of goods will probably start to rise again at the end of this quarter along with moves by major world economies to loosen monetary policies."

Reaching the growth targets, he added, will depend a great deal on the banking system's capacity to tackle bad debt and facilitate new lending.

"Investors will remain cautious as indices are approaching their resistance levels," Phat said, noting that many are waiting on results of the State Bank of Vietnam 's inspection of Sacombank (STB) following takeover rumours and rapidly declining profits.

On the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange yesterday, the VN-Index closed down by nearly 1.4 percent to 393.41 points. Over half of listed stocks tumbled. Trading was sluggish, with only 33.4 million shares changing hands, worth a combined total of 541.7 billion VND (25.7 million USD ).

Blue chips weighed on the market, sending the VN30 Index down by 1.24 percent to 463.63 points. Only three out of the 30 leading shares tracked by the index managed to post gains, including logistics firm Gemadept (GMD), food processor Bourbon Tay Ninh (SBT) and property developer Vingroup (VIC). Meanwhile, 23 others retreated, most notably insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH), which plunged to its floor price of 28,100 VND per share.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index also shed 1 percent to close at 60.32 points. The value of trades totalled a mere VND216.9 billion ($10.3 million), declining 26.4 percent from the previous trading day, on a volume of 24.2 million shares. Losers outnumbered gainers by 124-54. The HNX30 Index, tracking the bourse's 30 leading stocks by market capitalisation and liquidity, dropped 1.5 percent to 112.12 points./.VNA