STOCKS rose for the first time in four days to surge through the 8,000 level buoyed by buying by American and European institutions. The Hang Seng Index soared 240.47 points or 3.06 per cent to close at the day's highest at 8,103.14 points on a turnover of $3.11 billion. The market opened more than 50 points higher to 7,914.17 points in the first 15 minutes trading as some European funds bought blue chips. 'There was strong program buying throughout the day,' said a broker in a Japanese firm. He said investors now inclined to the buy side and no one would sell down the market aggressively at this level. Priscilla Ng, OCBC Securities senior manager of institutional sales, said the market was largely stimulated by aggressive buying by giant brokerages Morgan Stanley and Jardine Fleming. 'Market sentiment is less cautious as the interest rates are expected to have peaked,' she said. Modest US retail sales growth figures released overnight also helped to stimulate the market because it suggested the tightening of interest rates was having the desired effect and another rise in interest rates was unlikely. Investors remain concerned about the Sino-US trade talk over intellectual property rights. Many are optimistic that the two sides will reach an agreement in their last-ditch effort to avoid the outbreak of a trade war. Brokers said some European and American hedge funds, which sold Hong Kong stocks late last year, also undertook some short covering. Another encouraging piece of news was China's property capital gains tax. All real estate agreements which were signed before January 1, 1994 will be exempted from a land appreciation tax. Buoyed by the news, property stocks and conglomerates with property interest in China posted significant gains. The property sector was the best performing sub-index, rising 484.22 points or 3.66 per cent to 13,713.86 points. Real estate counters were further strengthened by the acceptance of Hang Lung Development's Kornville at Quarry Bay, the the new residential development being oversubscribed. New World Development, which has the most property projects in China among the property developers, shot up 5.25 per cent to close $1.05 higher at $20. Hang Lung Development gained almost six per cent to close 65 cents higher at $11.50. Cheung Kong was heavily traded, gaining 4.59 per cent or $1.40 to $31.90 on a turnover of $198.25 million. The finance sub-index rose by 155.26 points or 2.36 per cent, with HSBC Holdings rising $1.50 to $79.75. Brokers said the performance of the banking stock was less strong than other blue chips affected by the cool response of the its covered warrant issues. Its counterpart Hang Seng Bank leapt $1.80 to $46.40. The utilities sub-index gained 177.32 points to 9,938.27 points. The scale of rise on Hongkong Telecom was relatively small as a result of selling by Morgan Stanley. The counter was up 1.45 per cent to $13.95. China Light & Power rose 2.99 per cent to $37.80 while Hutchison was up 5.26 per cent to $32.00.