Vietnam index ends up on foreign holdings, debut talk

Tue Jan 7, 2014 4:21am EST

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HANOI, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Vietnam's benchmark VN Index 
edged up 0.2 percent to close on Tuesday, with all bank shares
gaining on expectations of a lender's debut this month and after
the government raised foreign holdings in local banks, analysts
said.
    A strategic foreign investor can own up to 20 percent of a
local bank, from the current 15 percent, without having to ask
for government approval, according to a decree going into effect
on Feb. 20. 
    While the ownership ceiling for all foreign investors in a
bank is kept unchanged at 30 percent, the government could allow
larger foreign ownership in weak banks, the decree said.
    Analysts said the decree have little effect on listed banks.
But a possibility that foreign investors could fully own a
Vietnamese bank might attract foreign funds, said analyst Tran
Minh Hoang at Vietcombank Securities.
    The banking sector may have gained on Tuesday because of
market talks that BIDV, the second-biggest partly private bank
in assets, could make a domestic debut this month, according to
analyst Nguyen The Minh at Viet Capital Securities.
    Hanoi-based BIDV has yet to announce any debut date.
    Vietcombank climbing 2.21 percent and VietinBank
, the country's largest partly private bank in assets,
advanced 1.85 percent.
    Here is a snapshot of the VN Index at the close (0801
GMT).
                 VN Index       510.12            
              PREV. CLOSE        509.1            
                 % CHANGE        0.20%            
                                                  
                     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; Editing by Ho Binh Minh)
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