Vietnam index up 0.6 pct on earnings, foreign holdings

Tue Jan 7, 2014 12:08am EST

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HANOI, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Vietnam's benchmark VN Index 
climbed 0.6 percent at the break on Tuesday, led by gains in
banks as investors expected good earnings results and after the
government said it will allow higher foreign investors' holdings
in local lenders.
    A strategic foreign investor will be allowed to own a
maximum 20 percent of a Vietnamese bank from late next month,
from 15 percent now, the government said in a decree that will
come into effect on Feb. 20. 
    The decree also said the government could set another
ceiling beyond the existing caps in case foreign institutions
decide to invest in a weak Vietnamese bank.
    Listed banks, especially those with solid fundamental base,
advanced as investors have been expecting good corporate
earnings of these firms for the last quarter of 2013, said Tran
Minh Hoang, a senior analyst at Vietcombank Securities.
    Hanoi-based lender Vietcombank was the top riser on
Tuesday morning, with shares rising 2.58 percent, followed by
VietinBank, the country's largest partly private bank
in assets, which gained 2.47 percent.
    "Investors are stocking up bank shares as they would be sold
out soon," said Nguyen Tuan, a manager at An Binh Securities.
    Here is a snapshot of the VN Index at midday (0431
GMT).
                 VN Index       512.17            
              PREV. CLOSE        509.1            
                 % CHANGE        0.60%            
                                                  
                     HIGH          513            
                      LOW       509.87            
                                                  
        Change (%) 1-mnth         -0.2            
        Change (%) 3-mnth        2.332            
        Change (%) 1-year        19.49            
                                                  
             52-week high       533.15   10-Jun-13
             52-week low        426.86    7-Jan-13
 
 (Reporting by Mai Nguyen)
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