Vietnam stocks rise most in Asia on policy optimism

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Vietnam's stocks climbed Thursday, driving the benchmark index to the highest level in almost three months, amid speculation policy makers will implement more measures to support the market.

The benchmark VN-Index of the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange jumped 2.8 percent to 401.61 at the 11 a.m. local-time close on Thursday. The gauge rose the most among Asian benchmark indexes to the highest level since Nov. 9. Vietnam Export-Import Commercial Joint-Stock Bank, the most-active stock by volume and value, advanced 4.7 percent to VND15,700.

The VN-Index has gained 7.7 percent the past four days since Finance Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said the ministry will implement "drastic measures" to ensure the stock market runs more smoothly and transparently. Hue hopes the market will "go into a stable trend" this year, according to a statement posted on the ministry's website on Jan. 30. The VN-Index rose 10 percent in January after slumping 27 percent last year.

"The big drop in the market last year caught the attention of the nation's top leaders. They want to implement measures to improve it," said Dao Nho Tam, deputy head of the research and analysis department at Hanoi-based Alpha Securities Joint-Stock Co. "The launching of the new VN30 index shows that officials are more attentive to the market."

Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange will introduce on Feb. 6 the VN30 index, comprising 30 of the largest and most liquid stocks on the bourse, it said on Jan. 30.

The VN-Index slid the most among Asian major indexes last year as interest-rate increases to curb inflation hurt economic growth and corporate earnings. The central bank raised its refinancing rate five times to 15 percent last year, up from 9 percent at the beginning of the year. Inflation slowed for a fifth month in January to 17.27 percent, after peaking at 23.02 percent in August.

Saigon Securities Joint-Stock Co., the biggest listed securities company by market value, rose 4.6 percent to VND15,900, the highest level since Dec. 13. HAGL Joint-Stock Co., the property developer also known as Hoang Anh Gia Lai, jumped 4.9 percent to VND23,800.

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