Southern market shares began the week on a high note, hitting a peak for the first time in more than a year and a half as more listed firms announced their third-quarter profits and with foreign investors buying.

The benchmark VN-Index, which measures 176 companies and four mutual funds on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, gained 2.12 percent or 12.31 points to 594.30 Monday. More than 76.2 million shares worth nearly VND3.85 trillion (US$215.8 million) changed hands, up from the average trade value of VND2.7 trillion last week.

Gains outnumbered declines by 151 to 15 while 14 remained unchanged. Shares of consumer goods producers, real estate, construction and steel firms saw a positive performance.

Saigon Commercial Bank or Sacombank (STB) climbed from the second position last Friday to top the list of most-active shares as more than 4 million were traded, followed by the city-based Tan Tao Industrial Park Corp. (ITA) with more than 3.3 million traded.

After the bell, HCMC Infrastructure Investment Joint Stock Company (CII), whose Monday trade volume reached nearly 2.2 million, remained in the top three.

The VN-Index has satisfied investors by outrunning its recent record of 582.84 points.

Higher demand and healthy liquidity are expected as investors are no longer worried about the market losing ground and could show more confidence in buying.

There are also concerns, however, that the market gain will trigger sell-offs and the southern bourse could struggle around 590 instead of gaining further to 600.

The northern market also gained today as the HNX-Index earned an extra 7.05 points or 3.72 percent to close at 196.7. A total of 41 million shares worth VND1.67 trillion were traded.

The UPCoM-Index closed at 67.03, up 0.8 points or 1.21 percent, with around VND1.8 billion spent trading 127,300 shares.

The US stock market is also set to continue on a positive streak this week as momentum builds during earnings season.

This week will be crucial to hopes that revenue growth has returned triumphant, as opposed to earnings surprises resulting mostly from cost-cutting.