Investigate ‘trash stocks’ manipulation, investors request finance ministry

By Dat Nguyen   June 15, 2021 | 05:42 pm PT
Investigate ‘trash stocks’ manipulation, investors request finance ministry
An investor looks at stock prices on the screens at a brokerage in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
An investors’ association has requested the finance ministry to investigate suspicions that “trash stocks” on the HoSE are being manipulated to several hundred times their actual value.

Some of the "trash stocks" are even listed in the VN30 basket which comprises the 30 largest capped stocks on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE), the Vietnam Association of Financial Investors (VAFI) said in a statement.

For instance, investors have been asking questions about the surging price of RIC shares of the Royal International Corporation, operator of the largest casino in the northern province of Quang Ninh.

From mid-January until early March, RIC surged 690 percent, while the benchmark VN-Index fell 0.8 percent. It then plunged 61 percent to its current price of VND17,800 ($0.78).

The chart of RIC. Photo courtesy of TradingView.

The chart of RIC. Photo courtesy of TradingView.

The company did not record any special breakthrough in its business during the period. It was carrying an accumulated loss of VND310 billion last year.

Some cases of manipulation have already been identified by authorities. Last month, the State Securities Commission of Vietnam imposed a fine of VND600 million on the former chairwoman of real estate consultancy PIV for using 42 trading accounts to trade the company’s shares back and forth to create fake demand.

VAFI said that some companies were even issuing new shares in a private placement at prices 40-50 percent higher than market value, even though the ticker has been traded under par value (VND10,000 per share) for a long time with low interest from investors.

There are also cases when businesses acquire a small brokerage and use thousands of trading accounts registered under employees’ names to manipulate prices, it added.

There are over 400 tickers listed on the nation’s main bourse, with prices ranging from VND2,500 to VND232,000.

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