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Market struggles, bank stocks face strong sell-off

VIETNAM, February 2 - HÀ NỘI — Benchmark indices ended almost flat on Friday with numerous big banks under the profit-taking force, while foreign investors snapped the long net buying streak and started net selling on two main exchanges. 

On the Hồ Chí Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE), the VN-Index inched slightly lower to 0.47 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 1,172.55 points. 

The breadth of the market was negative as the number of decliners surpassed that of gainers by 173 to 143. However, liquidity on the southern bourse increased sharply to over VNĐ20 trillion (US$822.6 million), up from VNĐ15.3 trillion of the previous trade. 

In contrast, the VN30-Index, which tracks the 30 biggest stocks on HoSE, rose 1.41 points, or 0.12 per cent, to 1,174.76 points. In the VN30 basket, 10 stocks ticked up while 16 declined and four stayed unchanged. 

Leading the downturn were three large banks: VPBank (VPB), BIDV (BID) and Vietinbank (CTG). All stocks posted decreases of 0.74-1.83 per cent. VPB and BIDV logged two straight days of falling, losing 1.29 per cent and 0.94 per cent, respectively, on Thursday.

Other banks faced strong selling pressure were Vietnam International Commercial Joint Stock Bank (VIB), down 1.94 per cent, MBBank (MBB) dropped 0.68 per cent, and TPBank (TPB) tumbled nearly 2 per cent. 

The market pared losses as gains seen in some pillar stocks. In particular, Vietcombank (VCB) was the winner today, up 0.56 per cent, after rising nearly 1.5 per cent in the previous session. It was followed by FPT Corporation (FPT), up 2.1 per cent, Vietnam Rubber Group (GVR) soared 2.7 per cent, and Mobile World Investment Corporation (MWG) jumped 2.6 per cent. 

The HNX-Index on the Hà Nội Stock Exchange (HNX) was stable at 230.56 points. More than 79.4 million shares were traded on the northern bourse, worth VNĐ1.45 trillion. 

Also weighing on the market, foreign investors were net sellers today as capital intends to exit the market ahead of Tết. Specifically, they net sold VNĐ208.42 billion on HoSE and VNĐ62.26 billion on HNX. — VNS