Vietnam index up 1.9 pct on bank listing, foreign buying

Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:19am EST

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HANOI, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Vietnam's benchmark VN Index
 climbed 1.88 percent to close at 543.59 points, extending
its winning streak to 11 sessions, with foreign investors buying
blue chips and banks after No. 2 lender BIDV received a listing
licence.
    All banking shares gained on Friday after BIDV, Vietnam's
second-biggest bank by assets, won approval to list on Ho Chi
Minh Stock Exchange, which could be as early as this month.
 
    Sacombank stocks surged 6.74 percent, Hanoi-based
lender Vietcombank climbed 2.53 percent and VietinBank
, Vietnam's largest partly private bank by assets,
advanced 1.88 percent.
    Foreign investors bought blue chips, anticipating the
government would raise foreign ownership limits to 60 percent
from 49 percent in listed shares within the next few weeks.
    Shares in the portfolio of Market Vectors Vietnam
exchange-traded fund (ETF) also rose on the ETF's
premium gains of more than 7 percent on Thursday, analysts said.
    The premium advance would allow VNM to pour 500 billion dong
($23.7 million) into the Vietnamese share market, said analyst
Nguyen Hoang Phuong at Ho Chi Minh City Securities.
    Property firm Vingroup rose 2.84 percent, and top
insurer Baoviet Holdings jumped 6.98 percent. Both
shares are within the ETF's portfolio, beside STB and VCB.
    PetroVietNam Gas, Vietnam's largest listed firm,
closed flat on Friday after gaining 16.7 percent over the past
11 sessions.
    Foreign investors have been net buyers on the Ho Chi Minh
Stock Exchange, with 825 billion dong ($39.1 million) in net
purchase from Jan. 1 to Jan. 16, exchange data showed.
    The index has risen for 11 consecutive sessions, breaking
its 3-1/2-year high on Thursday, Reuters data showed.
    "The Vietnamese market has been very excited, and the index
has gained out of our expectation," said research director Hoang
Viet Phuong at Saigon Securities.
    Analysts expected the index would hit 600 points in 2014,
after being Southeast Asia's best performer last year.
    The index mighty fall slightly when investors take profit
from stocks that gained strong recently, said Nguyen The Minh of
Viet Capital Securities. The VNI would not drop too low,
however, as foreign investors would extend their net buy in the
short term.
    Here is a snapshot of the VN Index at the close (0801
GMT).
                 VN Index       543.59            
              PREV. CLOSE       533.54            
                 % CHANGE        1.88%            
                                                  
                     HIGH       549.88            
                      LOW       536.81            
                                                  
        Change (%) 1-mnth        6.274            
        Change (%) 3-mnth         6.93            
        Change (%) 1-year       14.678            
                                                  
             52-week high       533.54   16-Jan-14
             52-week low        440.48   23-Jan-13
                                                  
 ($1 = 21,070 dong)

 (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Martin Petty)
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