Shares improved slightly on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange on July 17 thanks to several large-cap stocks' recoveries, but liquidity continued to slide on rising investor caution.

The VN-Index inched up 0.28 percent to close the session at 628.63 points while the VN30, which tracks the top 30 shares by market value and liquidity, increased 0.3 percent to end at 651.03 points.

Supporters included Military Bank (MBB), Vietinbank (CTG), steelmaker Hoa Phat Group (HPG), property developer Hoang Anh Gia Lai Co (HAG), Phu My Fertiliser (DPM) and insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH). However, most other blue chips tumbled or closed unchanged.

Overall market conditions were positive with 131 stocks climbing, 81 declining and 93 unchanged.

Liquidity kept falling with just 107 million shares worth 1.81 trillion VND (83 million USD), down 20 percent in volume and 26 percent in value compared with the previous day's levels.

"A big worry is that profit-taking pressure is still a factor in various stocks, and has created separation between stocks in the same industry. Besides, negative trading in the foreign sector has discouraged local investors," analysts at Sai Gon-Hanoi Securities Co wrote in a note.

Foreign investors continued to unload shares in HCM City's market on the day. They were responsible for a net sell value of nearly 39 billion VND (1.8 million USD). The previous day, they also offloaded shares worth 6.6 million USD.

Without support from blue chips, the HNX-Index on the Hanoi Stock Exchange lost another 0.59 percent to finish the session at 87.07 points.

Market conditions were fairly neutral with 86 stocks advancing, 88 falling and 184 unchanged.

Liquidity was low here as the market volume dropped another 17 percent from the previous session to reach 47.5 million shares and the trading value decreased 21 percent to 576.5 billion VND (26.4 million USD).

The foreign sector remained net buyers here, but they picked up a modest value of just 15 billion VND (688,000 USD).-VNA