Thirty stocks on Vietnamese market at least doubled in value last year, with most gainers being penny stocks.
Nine are listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE), the country’s main bourse, while the remaining 21 are listed in Hanoi (HNX), where small and mid-cap stocks are listed.
Construction and lighting fixtures manufacturer MBG Group recorded the highest gain in 2019. Listed on the HNX, it started the year at VND4,000 ($0.17) and rose 413 percent to close the year at VND20,500 ($0.88).
The stock began to rise sharply at the end of June, hitting the ceiling several times. By early November it rose to VND58,000 ($2.49) before beginning to violently give up its gains. In the last five trading sessions of the year the stock had no buyers.
Construction firm Vinaconex (VCM) rose from VND14,645 ($0.63) to VND53,000 ($2.28), a 262 percent gain, though only 100 shares were traded on most days.
Though liquidity peaked at 27,000 shares in late July, the last quarter the average was only around 100.
Other stocks achieving the biggest gains last year were finance and advisory firm FIT, which rose 295 percent, property developer Lilama 7 JSC (LM7, 254 percent) and school equipment and books retailer LABECO (LBE, 213 percent).
Most of the biggest gainers were penny stocks.
Bluechip stocks in the VN30, the basket of Vietnam’s 30 biggest stocks in terms of market cap, fluctuated much less, with most price movements associated with business results and prospects of the company.
VCB of lender Vietcombank had opened 2019 at around VND53,000 ($2.28) and ended it at over VND90,000 ($3.87), a gain of 70 percent. It made the highest profits in the banking sector, and announced a slew of other good news.
In November it signed a 15-year bancassurance deal estimated by Bloomberg to be worth around $1 billion with Hong Kong insurer FWD Group Ltd., which was thought to be a strong driver of year-end gains.
IT services giant FPT was second in terms of gains at nearly 63 percent. After divesting entirely from wholesale and retail businesses to focus on technology, its profit margins and operating efficiency doubled from the previous year.
Compared to the two main bourses, the Unlisted Public Companies Market (UPCoM), which is an exchange with less stringent disclosure obligations to encourage trading of shares in unlisted companies, shows a lot more volatility, given that its permits daily price movements of 15 percent, double that of HoSE and HNX.
VNX of tech and marketing firm Vinexad, the biggest gainer on UPCoM, started the year at VND777 ($0.03) and closed at VND60,000 ($2.58), an increase of 7,617 percent. Its 52-week high was an eye-watering VND84,300.
HCS of Hanoi Railway Signal & Telecom JSC was the second biggest gainer, rising from VND6,700 ($0.29) to VND107,600 ($4.62), a nearly 1,500 percent rise.
Again, though, they had very low liquidity, with around only 100 shares changing hands per session on average.
Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index rose 7 percent to 961 points at the end of 2019.