Vietnam index up 0.6 pct at midday; sentiment improves

Fri Mar 21, 2014 1:12am EDT

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HANOI, March 21 (Reuters) - Vietnam's VN Index 
climbed 0.64 percent at midday on Friday, with domestic
investors in positive mood after moves this week by the central
bank to trim rates and give more time for lenders to tackle bad
debts.
    Ho Chi Minh City-based Sacombank led the gains,
with shares rising 4.5 percent, followed by property firm
Vingroup which advanced 1.31 percent.
    Interest among local investors offset a recent bout of
selling by foreigners, said Tran Minh Hoang, an analyst at
Vietcombank Securities.
    "Domestic investors have been excited, maybe too excited,
after recent policy changes by the central bank," Hoang said,
adding that foreign selling combined with low domestic
consumption could pull the index down next month.
    The State Bank of Vietnam has lowered some key rates while
allowing banks more time to reduce their non-performing loan
ratios, which are among Asia's highest. 
 
    Foreign investors have net sold a total of 781 billion dong
($37 million) on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange so far this
month, after being net buyers since September 2013, exchange
data showed.
    Here is a snapshot of the VN Index at midday (0431
GMT).
                 VN Index       604.09           
              PREV. CLOSE       600.26           
                 % CHANGE        0.64%           
                                                 
                     HIGH       605.34           
                      LOW       600.26           
                                                 
        Change (%) 1-mnth        5.117           
        Change (%) 3-mnth       18.993           
        Change (%) 1-year       23.247           
                                                 
             52-week high       608.51  20-Mar-14
             52-week low        462.13  30-Aug-13
 ($1=21,075 dong)

 (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Martin Petty)
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