Vietnam Index up 0.5 pct, outlook positive

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The VN Index, the benchmark measure of the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange, gained on Tuesday for the first time in three days, rising 0.5 percent to 440.29.

The VN-30 Index, a free-float adjusted, market capitalization-weighted index of 30 stocks that have the highest market value and liquidity on the bourse, increased 0.8 percent to 501.29.

Foreigners bought VND304.40 billion ($14.63 million) worth of shares and sold stocks worth VND207.43 billion, the exchange said.

Volume of shares traded: 62.75 million shares.

Value: VND992.46 trillion.

In Hanoi, the HNX Index on the Hanoi Stock Exchange gained 2.04 percent to finish at 74.39 points, with 78.31 million shares changing hand, valued at 797.05 billion.

Broker/trader comments

Chau Thien Truc Quynh, head of retail brokerage, Viet Capital:

"Stocks rose as demand for selective shares, including securities, emerged late in the trading day in hope for solid earnings reports in the first quarter."

"Sentiment was also stimulated by the monthly inflation data of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City."

"The market outlook will likely be positive in the medium term but risky in the short term as some funds will close their portfolios for net asset values from now until the end of the first quarter."

"Stocks with solid fundamentals such as banking, food and foodstuff and consumer goods will continue leading the market in the next rally."

Nguyen Tuan, investment director, FLC Securities:

"Stocks are still on an upward trend but not as strong as expected when major cash flows are on the sidelines."

"Banking stocks are likely to continue leading the market during a fresh rally in the near future."

Nguyen Hoai Nam, analyst, Kim Eng Securities:

"Stocks are likely to move sideways to gather more steam in the near term."

Binh Dinh Minerals, Rang Dong, Everpia, Elcom

Shares of the following companies had unusual moves in Vietnam trading on March 20. Stock symbols are in parentheses and prices are as of close in Ho Chi Minh City.

Binh Dinh Minerals Joint-Stock Co. (BMC VN), a miner and trader of metal ores, jumped 4.8 percent to close at VND45,500, the highest level since March 5. The company will pay shareholders a 2011 dividend of VND5,000 per share, it said in a statement filed on its website.

Rang Dong Light Source & Vacuum Flask Joint-Stock Co. (RAL VN), a maker of thermos flasks and fluorescent lighting products, rallied for an eighth day, rising 4.9 percent, to VND34,600, the highest since Oct. 2, 2009. The Hanoi-based company will pay a dividend of VND1,500 a share on April 25, according to a statement on the exchange's website.

Everpia Vietnam Joint-Stock Co. (EVE VN), which designs, produces and sells bedding products, rose for the first time in three days, jumping 4.9 percent to VND25,800. The company expects profit after tax to add 6.2 percent, to VND160 billion, and revenue to increase 12.4 percent to VND900 billion this year, it said in a statement filed on the exchange's website.

Elcom Corp. (ELC VN), which offers telecommunications, information technology, automation and electronics products and services, slid 1.1 percent to VND27,700. Elcom plans to pay 2010 dividend by issuing new shares, according to a statement on the exchange's website. Investors will get 25 new shares for every 100 existing ones they have, it said.

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