The VN Index on the HCM Stock Exchange fell 0.31 percent to close at 771.50 points. It gained 1.8 percent total over the previous two sessions.
More than 202.3 million shares worth a total of VND3.58 trillion (US$159 million) were traded on the southern bourse.
The southern exchange was pulled down by profit-taking pressure in large-cap stocks, which saw their prices advance in the previous sessions.
In the VN30 Index, which tracks the performance of 30 largest companies by market capitalisation, decliners outnumbered gainers by 22 to seven. Declining stocks fell down between 0.1 percent and 2.8 percent.
The stock market on Thursday had a correction after it had gained for two consecutive sessions, BIDV Securities (BSC) wrote in its daily report.
The market saw its trading liquidity slightly decrease from Wednesday, and the correction made most large-cap stocks in the steel, energy and banking industries fall, as investors withdrew their money from those sectors, BSC said.
The stock market in the next session will move within a narrow margin, the brokerage said, adding that money will flow in and out large-cap stocks on their high liquidity and security, as investors will be cautious with their investments until the market trend becomes clearer.
“The VN Index will test the level of 780 points in coming sessions.”
The worst decliners on Thursday included PetroVietnam Gas (GAS), Sacombank (STB), steel producer Hoa Phat Group (HPG) and DHG Pharmaceutical Co (DHG).
GAS and HPG dropped 1.1 percent each. GAS had increased by total 2.9 percent in the previous two days while HPG had jumped 4.4 percent in the previous three days.
The two other stocks - STB and DHG - lost 1.2 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively, after they had rallied 9.4 percent and 3.3 percent in the previous three sessions.
Among other declining stocks were Saigon Securities Inc (SSI), property developer Vingroup (VIC), Vietinbank (CTG) and insurance-finance group Bao Viet Holdings (BVH).
On the positive side, the HNX Index on the Hanoi Stock Exchange extended its gain for a third day, rising 0.20 percent to end at 99.63 points. It has totaled a three-day rally of 2.8 percent.
Market trading liquidity on the northern bourse also declined from Wednesday. More than 67.9 million shares were traded on the Hanoi market, worth VND568.5 billion.