PHILIPPINE shares declined for the third straight day on Thursday due to the absence of catalysts, also tracking markets in the region that fell due to China’s crackdown on technology firms.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) declined by 18.01 points or 0.25% to close at 6,924.99 on Thursday, while the broader all shares index inched up by 2.50 points or 0.05% to 4,274.66.

“The market fell for a third straight day as catalysts that could spur optimism remain missing,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said in a Viber message.

“The net foreign outflows this Thursday… also contributed to the decline. Trading remained tepid,” he added. “This implies that many investors are still staying on the sidelines while waiting for compelling factors before they participate in the market.”

Net foreign selling soared to P838.94 million on Thursday from the P211.97 million logged in the previous day. Meanwhile, value turnover went up to P5.04 billion with 1.36 billion issues traded on Thursday from the P4.46 billion with 1.70 billion shares switched hands on Wednesday.

“This (the PSEi’s performance) is consistent with how Asian markets performed today, amid lingering worries over China’s ongoing crackdown on tech giants,” Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Darren Blaine T. Pangan said in a separate Viber message on Thursday.

Asian stocks fell to a six-week low on Thursday as investors sold companies caught in a widening Chinese tech crackdown, while a surprising hint at monetary easing in China raised questions about the strength of the global pandemic recovery, Reuters reported.

MSCI’s index of Asia shares outside Japan fell 1% to its lowest since late May, led by a 2.3% drop in the Hang Seng, where one-time darlings Tencent and Alibaba slumped to year-to-date lows.

Shares in ride-hailing firm Didi crumbled another 4.6% on Wednesday to put them more than a quarter below last week’s offer price, a sell-off sparked when China ordered the app removed from stores.

Back home, most sectoral indices closed in the red on Thursday except for mining and oil, which went up by 65.65 points or 0.67% to 9,836.49, and services, which gained 8.50 points or 0.52% to end at 1,615.47.

Meanwhile, industrials shed 49.27 points or 0.5% to 9,635.58; property lost 16.72 points or 0.49% to 3,335.23; financials went down by 7.41 points or 0.49% to end at 1,495.35; and holding firms declined by 9.16 points or 0.13% to 6,947.72.

Decliners beat advancers, 119 against 82, while 50 names closed unchanged.

Timson Securities’ Mr. Pangan expects the PSEi to trade between 6,820 to 7,080 on Friday, while Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar placed its immediate support at 6,900.

“Having no fresh leads along with weak investors’ participation may put the market in consolidation with a downward bias,” Ms. Alviar said in a Viber message. “Traders may also take profits on the last trading day of the week to avoid any uncertainties over the weekend.” — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte with Reuters