Buoyed by oil and securities sectors, the benchmark index of Vietnam's Hanoi Stock Exchange hit its highest level in 17 months on Thursday before leveling off on Friday. The HNX-Index closed at 70.76 points on Friday, down 0.4 points, or 0.56 percent, from the previous close. A total of 53.93 million shares worth 514.63 billion Vietnamese dong (24.39 million U.S. dollars) were traded on the bourse on Friday, a decrease of 31.76 percent in volume and 19.35 percent in value as against Thursday. There were 104 gainers, 97 losers, while 72 stocks closed unchanged. During the week, the HNX-Index went up from last Friday's closing session. The index experienced four ups and one down, posting the highest level of 71.16 points on Thursday, and the lowest level of 68.82 points on Monday. Last week, it fluctuated between 66.95 points and 67.97 points. HNXFF-Index, a new benchmark that will replace the HNX-Index from December 2014, closed at 70.68 points, down 0.3 points or 0. 43 percent, on Friday. Until Friday, the market had maintained upward trend for seven days in a row. Currently, market sentiment remained positive as cash flow is returning to the market. The news of allowing foreign strategic investors to increase their stake in local banks also boosted trading of shares of the banking sector. Analysts said investors' sentiment is quite positive, and this is expected to give impetus to the market over the short term. Selecting suitable stocks and implementing investment disciplines will be crucial in safeguarding profit, they said. Better business performance in 2013 also contributed to boosting the market during the week. In the context of the economy slowly overcoming difficulties, gradual recovery and growth is expected to continue into 2014, which is a good sign for the stock market, said the analysts. The analysts added that investors can buy stocks with good fundamentals and positive long-term vision. In 2013, the HNX-Index increased 10.75 points, or 18.83 percent, compared to the closing session in 2012.