CONCERN over a continued slump in the US dollar sent the Hang Seng Index down slightly to close at 9,316.17 yesterday. The indicator lost 13.01 points, or 0.14 per cent. Brokers said there was strong late support and the index recovered much of its early losses on buying from large institutions. Turnover fell to $2.57 billion from last Friday's revised $3.41 billion. Brokers said trading was relatively sluggish because of public holidays in New York and London yesterday. A minor correction on Wall Street on Friday, together with the disappointing economic figures announced earlier this month, have caused fears that the United States might face a recession instead of its expected soft-landing. On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 43.23 points, or 0.98 per cent, to end at 4,369. A weaker greenback and stable interest rates raised concern that foreign funds might be reduced on the Hong Kong market - which is pegged to the US currency - and invested elsewhere. The Hang Seng Index opened lower yesterday following the drop on Wall Street last Friday. The benchmark index soon fell to the intra-day low of 9,174.86 in early trade. The index see-sawed in morning trade before gradually picking up to close the morning session at 9,248.39, down 80.79 points, or 0.87 per cent. However, analysts said there was strong support in the market and this buoyed the index in afternoon trade. US firms, such as Morgan Stanley, were major buyers in the afternoon, while many European brokerages were selling, brokers said. The research director of Tai Fook Securities, Elton Cheung, said yesterday's trading should not be regarded as an indicator because the market was usually more volatile ahead of settlement days. 'There is a lot of roll-over of futures contracts. The direction for the market will be clearer tomorrow when the settlement day is over.' A recovery of the US currency against the yen because of the Bank of Japan's intervention yesterday also lifted sentiment, brokers said. Samuel Lau Kwok-leung, research manager at Seapower Securities, said: 'The market over-reacted in the morning. I think the market can surge again after catching its breath.' The banking sector outperformed the market, with the Hang Seng finance sub-index holding firm by adding 1.69 points to 8,332.03. HSBC edged up 25 cents, or 0.25 per cent, to $99.25. It was the most active stock with a turnover of $443.73 million. Wharf and Wheelock both soared following the announcement of their asset swap plans. Wharf added 20 cents, or 0.81 per cent, to $25 on a strong turnover of $117.25 million, while Wheelock closed five cents, or 0.37 per cent, higher at $13.65 on shares worth $10.75 million traded. Mr Cheung said the market was optimistic about the asset swap as the gearing ratio of Wharf would be reduced, and both companies would have a clearer direction on their main operations. Analysts said further movement of the Hang Seng Index would depend on the performance of the US equities markets. Mr Lau said the Hong Kong market performed strongly despite unsatisfactory performance in the US market. Mr Cheung said caution should prevail in the market in the short term because fundamentals in Hong Kong and US remained unfavourable.