AMID a featureless day, futures-related trading yesterday shored up the Hang Seng Index, which rose 48.74 points, or 0.59 per cent, to close at 8,361.03. Trading was thin ahead of the weekend with turnover at $2.1 billion, compared with a revised $2.77 billion for Thursday. Brokers said the market was very quiet and most of the activity was futures-related. Larry Tam Kwong-lau, executive director of SHK Securities, said: 'People had nothing much to do. That was why the trading was so thin.' The market opened lower and continued to lose ground before picking up in the late morning. Mr Tam said early trade was affected by poor sentiment on the resignation of Beijing communist party boss Chen Xitong and the low price at property sales recently. 'There was also some follow-through selling in the morning to complete overnight orders,' he said. The index received support at the 8,200 level and rebounded after it had reached the intra-day low of 8,236.63 points. The morning session closed at 8,275.65, down 36.64 points, or 0.44 per cent. 'Futures-related buying later boosted the index as investors found the downside very limited amid a lack of sellers in the market,' Mr Tam said. The afternoon session swung back into positive territory and an intra-day high of 8,364.51 was reached. Priscilla Ng, senior manager for institutional sales at OCBC Securities, said there was speculation about China's patriarch Deng Xiaoping's second son, Deng Zhifang, chief executive of Shougang Grand, coming to Hong Kong for the company's results announcement. But she said: 'The rebound was because there were more people holding short position in the futures market not because of any good news. You can see that from the thin turnover.' 'Investors are conservative after the sharp loss on Wednesday.' United States firms were relatively active in the market and British firms such as James Capel Asia were buying selective property counters in the last 20 minutes of trading, according to dealers. Some investors also switched to defensive utility counters and arbitrages were found with heavyweights HSBC and Hongkong Telecom. The Hang Seng property sub-index recovered some of the morning losses to close down 4.14 points at 13,715.64, after losing 115.18 points at the morning close. The Hang Seng utilities sub-index outperformed the main index by gaining 144.11 points, or 1.41 per cent, to end at 10,350.3. Mr Tam said volume would remain thin next week because most Southeast Asian countries would have a public holiday on Monday. Wednesday to Friday will also be public holidays in Japan. Mr Tam and Ms Ng both expected the index to trade between 8,200 and 8,450 points. Ms Ng said the market would be easily influenced by news in Beijing. It was also possible for the US dollar to be more volatile during the long holiday in Japan. Hongkong Telecom closed up 25 cents, or 1.67 per cent, at $15.15. Turnover was $141.86 million. China Light rose $1, or 2.82 per cent, to $36.50 on a turnover of $88.67 million. Hongkong Bank added 25 cents, or 0.28 per cent, to $89.75. It was the third most active stock on a turnover of $177.61 million.