STOCKS closed lower for the third straight day on Tuesday amid a lack of positive catalysts for the market and continued uncertainty over the country’s economic outlook.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) fell 4.99 points or 0.07% to close at 7,198.45 yesterday, while the broader all shares index dropped 1.56 points or 0.04% to end at 4,319.74.

AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said in an e-mail that the market closed lower on last-minute buying.

“Gains in BDO Unibank, Inc. offset losses of industrial giant Universal Robina Corp. (URC) and blue chip telecommunication giants Globe Telecom, Inc. and PLDT, Inc.,” Mr. Mangun said.

Shares in BDO picked up 1.37% or P1.50 to close at P111 apiece on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Globe shares retreated 1.90% or P40 to finish at P2,060 each; PLDT shares declined 2.74% or P40 to close at P1,420 apiece; and URC fell 3.03% or P4.80 to end at P153.80 per share.

“Investors are still uncertain and are not willing to justify higher valuations for blue chips. Most are on the sidelines, waiting for more signs of economic recovery,” Mr. Mangun said.

Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar said the local bourse ended in red territory amid the lack of catalysts.

“The overvaluation of the PSEi in terms of the price-to-earnings ratio is pushing traders to trade stocks outside the index where positive sentiment is present,” Ms. Alviar said in a mobile phone message.

“Investors could only return to the index stocks once there’s a fresh catalyst already in the market that may break the current resistance of 7,300,” she added.

Timson Securities, Inc. Head of Online Trading Darren Blaine T. Pangan said in a mobile phone message that the local market retreated as investors are monitoring other countries that will impose stricter quarantine measures due to the ongoing spread of the new coronavirus disease 2019 strain.

Majority of sectoral indices at the PSE ended lower on Tuesday. Industrials fell 165.17 points or 1.74% to 9,335.58; services declined 16.30 points or 1.05% to 1,539.68; property shrank 14.99 points or 0.41% to 3,646.49; and mining and oil retreated 28.20 points or 0.29% to 9,613.93

Meanwhile, holding firms improved 65.58 points or 0.89% to 7,415.19 and financials gained 0.86 point or 0.06% to 1,476.83.

Decliners narrowly beat advancers, 115 against 114, while 44 names ended unchanged.

Value turnover reached P16.03 billion with 144.4 billion issues switching hands yesterday, higher than the P10.38 billion with 169.05 billion issues logged on Monday.

Net foreign selling on Tuesday reached P1.21 billion, higher than the net outflows worth P509.91 million seen in the previous trading session.

“As the PSEi trades sideways, nearest support is at 7,000 while immediate resistance may be pegged at 7,300,” Timson Securities’ Mr. Pangan said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave