Vietnam to extend stock trading hours to boost liquidity

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Vietnam will extend trading hours on the nation's two stock exchanges from March 5 to bolster a market that was Asian's worst perfomer in 2011.

The Ministry of Finance granted final approval for the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange and the Hanoi Stock Exchange to extend trading hours into the afternoon, Vu Bang, chairman of the State Securities Commission said by phone on Monday.

The market currently trades from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and the two exchanges will add an afternoon session from 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., said Nguyen Thi Hoang Lan, deputy general director of the Hanoi bourse.

"The longer trading hours you have, the more there can be news during market hours that will change the direction of markets, which means more liquidity," said Michel Tosto, director for institutional sales and brokerage at Ho Chi Minh City-based Viet Capital Securities.

The extension will be applied by the two exchanges for a three-month trial run, Lan said, citing a document sent to the exchange Monday.

The benchmark VN Index slumped 27 percent last year, the most among Asian benchmark gauges, as the government raised interest rates to cool inflation. The measure has rallied 18 percent this year, closing 2.7 percent higher on Monday at 413.98.

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