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Vietnam stocks defy odds, end week on high

HANOI--Despite the current atmosphere in the markets, stock indexes have enjoyed healthy gains over the last week.

On the HCM City Stock Exchange, the VN-Index gained over 3 percent, compared to the previous Friday's close, to reach 560.19 points.

The average value and volume of trades totaled VND1.8 trillion (US$84.9 million) and 98.7 million shares, respectively.

After some sluggish sessions, blue chip stocks, such as private equity group Masan (MSN), Vinamilk (VNM), insurer Bao Viet (BVH), PetroVietnam Gas (GAS) and Refrigeration Electric Engineering (REE), rebounded with a welcome boost to the market.

Meanwhile, property developer Tan Tao (ITA) hit a six-month high, as it was reselected for tracking by the VN30 Index, replacing food processor Bourbon Tay Ninh (SBT).

Also notable was the debut of the Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BIDV) on the HCM City Stock Exchange on Friday.

The bank's chairman, Tran Bac Ha, predicted the domestic stock market would continue to grow this year. “The growth may not be a breakthrough, but it will be stable,” he said.

In addition, the decree allowing an increase in foreign ownership in Vietnamese banks produced a positive effect on the market. “I hope it will give a boost to trading on banking stocks such as ours,” Ha said.

Ha expects the bank to attract investment from exchange-traded funds after its listing. This year, the bank is targeting a 16-per-cent credit growth, at least VND6 trillion (US$283 million) gross profit, non-performing loans reduced to below 2.6 percent and 8 to 9 percent dividends.

On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index rose 1.2 percent over the previous week to 73.66 points. Trading value and volume averaged VND508.7 billion (US$24 million) and nearly 47 million shares per session. Over the last week, foreign investors bought stock at a net value of VND1.12 trillion (US$52.8 million).

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