Vietnam stocks tumble the most in Asia on power-price concerns

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Vietnam's stocks fell, dragging the benchmark index down the most in Asia, on speculation investors are locking in gains after a recent advance, and on concern the government may raise electricity prices.

The Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange's VN Index dropped 2.9 percent to 457.11 at the 11 a.m. local-time close on Friday, the steepest loss since May 25. The gauge has rebounded 19 percent from a 27- month low on Aug. 12 amid speculation the central bank will gradually loosen monetary policy.

"Investors are quickly taking profits after the market saw a long bullish trend," said Ho Chi Minh City-based Nguyen Duy Phong, an analyst from ACB Securities Inc. "Rumors that the government may raise electricity prices also concern investors," he said.

Vincom Joint-Stock Co., Vietnam's largest listed real- estate company by market value, retreated 4.7 percent to 102,000 dong, the lowest close since Aug. 24. Bao Viet Holdings, the country's biggest insurer, fell 4.7 percent to VND82,000, the biggest loss since Aug. 9.

Inflation surged to 23.02 percent last month, the fastest pace since November 2008. The Ministry of Finance has agreed in principle to a proposed increase in electricity rates, with the rate and timing of any rise in prices dependent on the country's economic situation, Vietnam News reported yesterday, citing Finance Minister Vuong Dinh Hue.

State-run utility Vietnam Electricity, which applied Sept. 8 to raise rates, must coordinate with ministries to establish a plan for increasing prices based on input costs, the report quoted Hue as saying.

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