PROFIT-TAKING after the sharp rise last week dragged the Hang Seng Index down 28.04 points, or 0.3 per cent, to close at 9,189.79 yesterday. Turnover was $5.33 billion, dropping from the hefty 9.92 billion last Friday. Brokers said buying interest remained strong even though the market paused for a technical consolidation after adding a substantial 885.66 points last week. The sales director of Morgan Grenfell, David Lavington, said: 'The consolidation was expected and the selling pressure was not that great.' The index opened lower and soon picked up to the intra-day high of 9,276.72 points. However, the upside was limited and the morning's gains were soon eroded. The market see-sawed between 9,180 and 9,200 points to close the morning session 14.46 points, or 0.16 per cent, down at 9,203.37. More pressure appeared in the afternoon session and the index dipped to the day's low of 9,080.05 before bargain-hunters helped recover some territory. The managing director of South China Brokerage, Howard Gorges, said: 'The index was back and forth in narrow trade as investors did not want to chase the prices up. 'It is good to see a little bit of loss in a smaller volume after the sharp rise last week.' Last week's surge was a surprise to many players as a flood of overseas funds poured into the market following a rally in the United States' long bond. 'Even if you are a bull, you did not expect the index to rise that much,' Mr Gorges said. Brokers said a steady interest rate would benefit finance and property counters in Hong Kong, although it might be too early to expect an interest rate cut. The Hong Kong market, which ignored the rally on Wall Street last month, also made the territory more attractive to international funds when they turned away from the US market. Many Asian markets rose substantially in the rally last week. Some analysts believed Hong Kong was actually lagging behind those markets because of worries about China. Last week the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index added 57.5 points to end at 1,013.94. In Bangkok, the SET Index rose 77.13 points to 1,360.19. Taiwan's Weighted Index gained 202.13 points to 5,844.29. In Hong Kong yesterday, property counters lost some steam after leading the market last week with the Hang Seng property sub-index falling 88.65 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 15,637.03. However, finance counters rose, with the sub-index gaining 27.64 points, or 0.34 per cent, to 8,102.19. Players were generally bullish and believed overseas funds would stay in the region for a while. Mr Lavington said: 'I believe the turnover will remain buoyant. There is no great selling pressure around.' An analyst from Mansion House, Jenny Ting, said: 'The turnover is not that large [yesterday] and there is nothing like panic selling. I think there will not be a major correction in the near term.' She expected the index to test 9,400 after a short-term consolidation. But analysts were doubtful that a bull market of the calibre of that in 1993 would return under such fundamentals as poor corporate results, a sluggish property market and uncertainties in China. Hongkong Telecom and Hongkong Bank bucked the trend to rise five cents and 75 cents, respectively. Hongkong Telecom ended at $16.05 and Hongkong Bank closed at $96.75.