Shares walked a tightrope on August 18 under heavy selling pressure by foreign investors while volatile global oil prices pushed oil and gas stocks down.
The VN-Index, the measure of 310 stocks on the HCM Stock Exchange, managed to close marginally unchanged at 660.7 points. It increased 0.4 percent on August 17 .
On the Ha n oi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index which tracks 379 stocks inched down 0.1 percent to end the session at 83.7 points.
Almost 36 percent of total stocks declined while 23 percent advanced.
The market was cushioned by rises of specific stocks, including private equity Masan Group (MSN), confectionery Kinh Do Corp (KDC) and dairy producer Vinamilk (VNM).
Masan Group and Kinh Do Corp hit the daily limit growth of 7 percent while the biggest listed stock Vinamilk increased 1.8 percent.
Masan Group on August 18 announced it will buy back 20 million shares of the company and adjust its 2016 profits up another 25 percent.
Foreign investors extended their net selling to five sessions in a row, offloading another 250.5 billion VND (11.2 million USD ) worth of shares on the HCM City's exchange. They were responsible for a total net sell value of nearly 894 billion VND in the past five sessions.
In Ha n oi's market, they bought a small net value of 1.3 billion VND.
"Continuous net sells by foreign investors is a risk factor," stock analysts at VP Bank Securities Co wrote in a note.
They said investment opportunities emerged in individual stocks instead of spreading across the whole market.
On the other end of spectrum, many large-cap stocks slumped, including shares among top 10 biggest stocks by market capitalisation like insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH), lender BIDV (BID) and PV Gas (GAS).
Oil and gas stocks were also losers on August 18 following a fall in global oil. International Brent crude oil futures were down 0.3 percent on August 18 from their last close to 49.69 USD per barrel.
GAS and PetroVietnam Drilling and Wells Services (PVD), the two biggest oil stocks, were down 2.4 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively. Others like Petroleum Equipment Assembly & Metal Structure (PXS), PetroViet n am Coating (PVB) and PetroVietnam Drilling Mud (PVC) decreased between 1.4 percent and 3.1 percent.
Liquidity improved slightly with nearly 170 million shares worth over 3.5 trillion VND being traded in the two markets, up 2.4 percent in volume and 5.6 percent in value compared with previous day's figures.-