The Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange in HCM City. (Photo: cafef.vn)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - The Vietnamese stock market suffered during the week from July 29 to August 2 after having rallied for four consecutive weeks amid negative news from the international markets.

The downtrend is expected to continue in August while investors are finding it harder to earn profits in the short term.

Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange finished the week from July 29 to August 2 at 991.10 points, down total 0.22 percent on a weekly basis.

That was the first losing week for the VN-Index after it had gained total 5.32 percent in four straight weeks between June 27 and July 26.

Foreign investors net sold total 461 billion VND worth of shares on the southern market. An average of nearly 177 million shares was traded in each session, worth 4.43 trillion VND.

The market rally stopped because investors were stunned by negative developments in the US-China trade relations.

After the talks between the two sides’ top officials ended without any consensus, the market was hit by the idea of US President Donald Trump about a 10 percent tax bill on 300 billion USD worth of Chinese products imported to the US.

The idea, scheduled to take effect on September 1, will clearly worsen the bad trade relations between the US and China amid worries about the slowdown of the global economy.

Meanwhile, the US Federal Reserve’s July meeting concluded with lending rates being cut by 25 basis points instead of 50 basis points.

The rate cut had been widely expected. However, what worries global investors is that the Fed’s statement on future rate cuts seems too soft and depends on the strength of the US economy.

According to Le Duc Khanh, director of market strategy at PetroVietnam Securities JSC, the unpredictability of US policies has caused global economies and equities markets to become more volatile.

Those developments will have a deep impact on other central banks’ monetary policies and on commodities like oil and gold, thus global stock markets may fall in the coming week.

Since March, the Vietnamese stock market has reacted little to international news and the impact of internal factors, Hoang Thach Lan, director of individual investors department at Viet Dragon Securities Co, told tinnhanhchungkhoan.vn.

In August, the US and China will return to the ring amid the escalation of their trade war. A lot more tough decisions and negative news are expected and the market sentiment will be dampened, he said.

Besides international news, the internal power of the Vietnamese stock market is not as good as expected because corporate earnings are below expectations.

According to BIDV Securities Corp, 693 listed firms or 93 percent of all listed companies have announced their Q2 results by the end of the week.
After the second quarter, those companies earned total 108 trillion VND (4.64 billion USD) in six-month post-tax profit. The figure was up only 3.4 percent year on year.

Fifty-one percent of those firms recorded positive earnings growth rates while 12 percent of them suffered losses in the first half of the year.

However, major earnings still came from large-cap stocks as two-thirds of the earnings were contributed by large-cap firms.

Banks also had the highest portion of the market’s total, accounting for 15.6 percent of the market’s so-far total earnings.

That means small- and medium-sized companies were still left behind amid the difficulties of the economy.

According to Bao Viet Securities Co (BVSC), business results are still the support of the market but they are not the most important factor as in previous years.

As of July 3, Vietnam’s price-to-earnings per share ratio (P/E) and price-to-booking per share ratio (P/B) were 16.6 and 2.4, respectively, which is comparable to other regional markets.

Corporate earnings indicated “a slowdown in revenue and profits of businesses listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) and Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX),” BVSC said in its six-month macro-economy report.

“Earnings per share growth may not be maintained at a high level as in previous years. In the second half of 2019, business performance will no longer lead the market up as in 2017 and 2018 though it is still supporting the market.” –VNS/VNA