VietinBank surges on 2013 earnings forecast

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Vietnam Joint-Stock Commercial Bank for Industry & Trade shares climbed to the highest level in a month today after the company forecast earnings will increase 5 percent this year.

Shares of the Hanoi-based lender rose 4.7 percent to 20,000 dong at the 2:15 p.m. local-time close, the highest close since March 1. The Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange's benchmark VN Index gained 0.7 percent to a two-year high.

VietinBank forecast pretax profit will increase to 8.6 trillion dong ($410.8 million) this fiscal year ending Dec. 31, according to a statement on its website. Total assets will rise 12 percent to 565 trillion dong, the bank said. The company is targeting 13 percent credit growth, 10 percent deposit expansion and to maintain its bad-debt ratio at less than 3 percent of oustanding loans.

"It might be time to put some money into VietinBank," Michel Tosto, director of institutional sales and brokerage at Ho Chi Minh City-based Viet Capital Securities, said today. "The stock was battered for a while and the news made it look a lot better."

The lender's shares have dropped 3.4 percent this year, compared with the benchmark index's 23 percent jump.

VietinBank's earnings targets are "very aggressive," according to Attila Vajda, an analyst at ACB Securities Co.

Bank lending in Vietnam dropped 0.28 percent in the January-to-February period from the end of last year, according to a March 19 posting on the government's website. The country's gross domestic product expanded 4.89 percent in the first three months of the year from the same period a year earlier, the General Statistics Office said on March 27.

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