By Denise A. Valdez, Senior Reporter

THE 30-MEMBER Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) closed nearly flat on Wednesday, with the end of a speakership row in Congress allowing it to post a slight gain.

The main index ended the trading session at 5,925.30, posting a 2.07-point or 0.03% uptick from the previous day. The broader all shares index gained 10.95 points or 0.3% to 3,580.09.

The PSEi moved within a tight range on Wednesday, opening at 5,923.92, hitting a low of 5,913.01 and reaching a peak of 5,933.83 a few minutes before the market closed.

“Market continued on consolidation with an upward bias after the House of Representatives has resolved the speakership row,” Diversified Securities, Inc. Equity Trader Aniceto K. Pangan said in a text message.

The fight for speakership at Congress had weighed on the market in the past days as it threatened a delay in passing the 2021 national budget, which economists said may be detrimental to the country’s post-pandemic recovery.

On Tuesday, Alan Peter S. Cayetano vacated his post, leaving it to new House Speaker Lord Allan Q. Velasco. The two have agreed to work together to hasten the passage of the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget for next year.

While the PSEi posted some gains, the sluggish market movement can be attributed to the drop in US stocks overnight, which can be linked to problems in finding a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine, Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said.

“The PSEi ended flat once again as the efforts of some US drugmakers to come up with an effective vaccine and (therapy) to the COVID-19 was halted,” Mr. Limlingan said in a mobile message.

US stocks declined on Tuesday following reports that Johnson & Johnson is suspending its trials for a coronavirus vaccine.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indices ended Tuesday’s session lower by 0.55%, 0.63% and 0.10%, respectively.

Back home, four of six sectoral indices closed higher on Wednesday. Financials went up 14.51 points or 1.25% to 1,175.22; property climbed 9.43 points or 0.34% to 2,766.21; mining and oil increased 6.34 points or 0.09% to 6,570.78; and industrials grew 5.26 points or 0.06% to 7,979.58.

The two sectoral indices that fell were services, which shed 12.57 points or 0.85% to 1,456.48, and holding firms, which dropped 23.07 points or 0.37% to 6,093.67.

Value turnover on Wednesday stood at P5.97 billion with 2.8 billion issues switching hands, growing from the previous day’s P5 billion with 3.83 billion issues.

Advancers outpaced decliners, 101 against 80, while 60 names ended unchanged.

Foreign investors continued to be bearing on Wednesday, but net outflows were trimmed to P619.22 million from P702.06 million in the previous session.