THE MAIN INDEX made a last-minute turnaround on Wednesday — on the eve of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) meeting where a 25-basis-point cut on benchmark interest rates is widely expected — after spending much of the day in the red as investment sentiment worldwide took a hit from the US House of Representatives move to start an impeachment inquiry against US President Donald Trump.

The 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) added 0.02% or 2.30 points to close at 7,896.24 yesterday, while the broader all-shares index slipped 0.01% or 0.88 point to 4,770.09.

“Philippine stocks fell before closing flat in volatile trade… as a push for the impeachment of US President Donald Trump gained momentum among Democrats in the US Congress,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile phone message.

The news hit the three major Wall Street indices, making the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite index slide by 0.53%, 0.84% and 1.46%, respectively.

Major Asian markets followed suit, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Topix indices giving up 0.36% and 0.18%, respectively, the Shanghai Composite falling by one percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index retreating by 1.29%, South Korea’s Kospi index dropping 1.32% and India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index falling by 1.28%.

Back home, four sectoral indices moved to negative territory, led by industrials which lost 1.43% or 155.53 points to 10,655.43, followed by mining and oil which dropped 0.79% or 73.32 points to 9,144.58, services which shed 0.27% or 4.32 points to 1,554.89 and financials which went down 0.14% or 2.68 points to 1,792.20.

On the other hand, property climbed 0.26% or 10.89 points to 4,108.82 and holding firms rose 0.25% or 20.24 points to 7,845.68.

“The index’s movement for the last two days of the week should be dictated by whether or not heavyweight SMPH (SM Prime Holdings, Inc.) continues its rally, and by US market movement. The BSP is also set to meet tomorrow where consensus expects a 25 basis point rate cut,” Papa Securities Corp. Sales Associate Gabriel Jose F. Perez said in an e-mail.

SM Prime shares rose 1.36% to P37.20 apiece, making it one of Wednesday’s biggest winners.

The day’s list of 20 most active stocks also saw eight that fell, led by Megaworld Corp. and Alliance Global Group, Inc. (AGI) which fell 5.03% and 4.72%, respectively. “Megaworld and AGI had the largest losses of the day following news early in the morning regarding the POGO (Philippine offshore gaming operator) office in Eastwood that was shut down for tax violations,” Mr. Perez said.

Stocks that lost were more than double those that declined 145 to 59, while 48 others closed flat. Some 617.20 million shares worth P5.79 billion changed hands, from Tuesday’s 899.97 issues worth P8.50 billion. Foreign investors were back as net sellers at P309.58 million, against a P111.09 million net inflow the previous session. — Arra B. Francia