Shares continued to build on last week's rally on Jan. 16, with improved trading value on both of the nation's stock exchanges – even as other markets in the region sank on last Jan. 13's news that international credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) had downgraded a number of European nations due to the ongoing eurozone debt crisis.

On the HCM City bourse, with 165 winners out of 280 codes, the VN-Index added 1 per cent over the previous session on Jan. 13 to reach 357.87 points. The value of trades nearly doubled Jan 13's level, hitting 842.4 billion VND (40 million USD) on a volume of 29.4 million shares.

Although most blue chips performed well, with food processor Masan Group (MSN) reaching its ceiling price, insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH), Eximbank (EIB) and real estate developer Vincom (VIC) tumbled between 1.6-2.9 percent. BVH announced late last week that last year's earnings were estimated at around 15.5 trillion VND (740 million USD), an increase of 20.7 percent over 2010, while profits were expected to reach roughly 989 billion VND (47 million USD), an gain of 22 percent.

Saigon Securities Inc (SSI) was the most-active share in HCM City with over 1.5 million traded. It gained a solid 2.9 percent in value before the close.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index rose by 1.3 percent to conclude the session at 57 points. Market value climbed 23 per cent to 194.4 billion VND (9.26 million USD) on a volume of 25.9 million shares.

With 3.16 million shares exchanged, Kim Long Securities Co (KLS) became the most-active share nationwide.

Shares of PetroVietnam Engineering Co (PVE) rose 2.1 percent on news reported on Jan. 16 that the company had sold a 10-percent stake to its strategic partner, French oil and gas group Technip. The shares were purchased at 14,500 VND per share, while PVE concluded trading at a price of only 9,600 VND.

Foreign investors were net buyers on both bourses, picking a combined net of 44 billion VND (2.1 million USD) worth of shares. /.