VN-Index inches ahead as liquidity plummets

By Hung Le   April 23, 2020 | 05:00 am PT
VN-Index inches ahead as liquidity plummets
An investor looks at stock prices on the screens at a brokerage in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index gained 0.65 percent Thursday to 773.91 points in a session where total trading fell to its lowest so far this month.

195 stocks gained and 143 lost on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE), on which the VN-Index is based.

After two of the month’s busiest sessions, total trading volume fell Thursday to VND3.29 trillion ($138.92 million), the lowest level this month and down 18 percent over the previous session. Average liquidity so far in April has been VND4.26 trillion ($179.91 million), according to data gathered from exchanges.

According to analysts, a rising market and low liquidity may indicate only a technical correction whereby market forces readjust stock prices after a period of decline. Gains are unrelated to actual performance of the economy, and so losses are likely to return in the near future, they said.

The VN-Index had in fact plunged 31 percent from 959.58 on January 30, when the government began closing northern border gates with China in response to the Covid-19 crisis, to 659.21 on March 24.

The index began rising again from March 25, following similar movements in other Asian markets after the U.S. announced it had reached an agreement to roll out a $2 trillion coronavirus bailout package for its economy. The index then went on to recover 17.4 percent, with many consecutive gaining sessions.

But with earnings season in full swing, and companies releasing lower-than-expected financial performances as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, some tickers that had recovered well in this period will could face strong selling pressure returning, Bao Viet Securities had warned in a recent report.

The VN30-Index, representing the stock market’s 30 biggest market caps, rose 0.43 percent this session, with 16 stocks gaining and nine losing.

Leading gainers were HPG of leading steelmaker Hoa Phat Group, which rose 3.8 percent, SAB of major brewer Sabeco, up 3.8 percent, and GAS of energy giant PetroVietnam Gas, up 2.5 percent. SAB, in particular, is on a gaining streak, closing in the green for 17 out of its last 20 sessions.

Reversing movements in Monday’s session, VRE of mall operator Vincom Retail and VHM of real estate developer Vinhomes were also among the bigger gainers, adding 2.3 percent and 1.8 percent respectively. These two tickers are subsidiaries of private conglomerate Vingroup, whose VIC shares rose 0.5 percent.

The three stocks, which have high market caps relative to others on the VN30, were some of the biggest contributors to the VN-Index this session, adding a total of 1.64 points to it, according to data from brokerage VNDIRECT.

Other major gainers included ROS of real estate developer FLC Faros, up 2 percent, MWG of electronics retailer Mobile World, 1.8 percent, and VJC of budget carrier Vietjet Air, 1.1 percent.

Out of the nine losing stocks, six belonged to banks. Leading the losers were three tickers of private mid-sized lenders, with VPB of VPBank shedding 1.5 percent, HDB of HDBank 1 percent, and EIB of Eximbank 0.6 percent.

CTG of VietinBank and VCB of Vietcombank, two of the country’s biggest state-owned lenders by assets, fell 0.3 percent and 0.1 percent respectively, while STB of private Sacombank dropped 0.2 percent.

The other losing stocks were VNM of leading dairy firm Vinamilk, down 1.4 percent, SBT of agri-firm TTC-Sugar, down 0.7 percent, and FPT of technology giant FPT, down 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the HNX-Index for stocks on the Hanoi Stock Exchange, home to mid and small caps, edged up 0.16 percent, and the UPCoM-Index for stocks on the Unlisted Public Companies Market rose 0.56 percent.

Foreign investors were net sellers for the 18th consecutive session on all three bourses for a total of VND340 billion ($14.35 million), with selling pressure mostly on VRE of Vincom Retail and VNM of Vinamilk.

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