HONG KONG'S latest derivative product - stock futures - was launched yesterday to a lukewarm response. Brokers said the latest offering from the Hong Kong Futures Exchange traded sluggishly. The exchange said a total of 683 stock futures contracts were traded. The underlying stocks of the futures contracts are HSBC Holdings and Hongkong Telecom. Of the 683 contracts, 326 were of HSBC Holdings with an equivalent of 2,000 shares for each contract. Nomura Securities executive director of equity derivatives Lobo Lee said the low volume was expected. 'It is normal for any new product which is launched,' he said. 'It takes some time for new products to pick up in the market.' He said it was too early to draw any conclusion about how the product would fare. 'You need to give it some time to build up, for institutions and fund managers to try the product,' he said. Exchange chairman K C Leong described the volume as 'satisfactory for the first day of trading'. 'The spread was tight and there was good participation throughout the trading hours.' Securities and Futures Commission chairman Anthony Neoh said the introduction of stock futures would diversify the range of products available to Hong Kong's increasingly sophisticated investors.