By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

THE MAIN INDEX climbed on Wednesday, albeit minimally, after the Asian Development Bank (ADB) trimmed its growth forecast for the country this year.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) added 0.2% or 15.85 points to close at 7,895.06 yesterday. In contrast, the broader all-shares index slipped 0.09% or 4.52 points to 4,840.34.

“It was another quiet session as the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and WTO (World Trade Organization) downgraded global growth forecast, while ADB slashed 2019 Philippine growth forecast from 6.7% to 6.4%, due to weaker global demand & anticipated impact of El Niño,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile message.

The Agriculture department recently reported that the dry spell has already hit P5.05 billion worth of the farm sector’s production as of April 2, affecting more than 160,000 farmers.

ADB, however, noted that the Philippine economy is still on a healthy growth trajectory. It also expects inflation to ease to 3.8% this year and 3.5% in 2020, coming from the 5.2% inflation print in 2018.

Meanwhile, IMF Chief Christine Lagarde said global growth has lost its momentum due to rising trade tensions and tighter financial conditions. This, however, may be countered by a pause in rate hikes in the US, which could help boost activity in the second half of the year.

For Papa Securities Corp. Sales Associate Gabriel Jose F. Perez, the PSEi posted a flat performance due to the lack of catalysts.

“Market continues to trade in a sideways range on a lack of internal catalysts — the nearest one being March’s inflation release on Friday, April 5. Initial resistance for the PSEi remains in the area of its 50-day moving average at 7,900,” Mr. Perez said in an e-mail.

Foreign investors were once again bullish on the Philippine market, with net inflows swelling to P2.12 billion, about four times the previous session’s P503.89 million.

Sectoral indices were equally split between gainers and losers. Those that ended higher were led by financials, which gained 0.47% or 8.30 points to 1,751.36. Services climbed 0.34% or 5.46 points to 1,599.68, while holding firms rose 0.3% or 23.23 points to 7,742.72.

Meanwhile, industrials dropped 0.45% or 53.53 points to 11,701.17, followed by property which edged lower by 0.23% or 9.59 points to 4,083.86. Mining and oil slipped 0.16% or 12.78 points to 7,704.60.

Some 1.29 billion issues valued at P6.45 billion switched hands, an improvement from Tuesday’s P4.79-billion turnover.

Advancers outpaced decliners by a slim margin, 100 to 99, while 45 names were unchanged.

Markets overseas ended mixed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 0.3% or 79.29 points to 26,179.13. The S&P 500 index was flat at 2,867.24, while the Nasdaq Composite index rallied 0.25% or 19.78 points to 7,848.69.