SHAKY trading in anticipation of interim earnings results from two of the territory's biggest banks helped push the market to its lowest level since mid-May. The index closed down yesterday for the eighth straight session, falling 82.66 points, or 0.91 per cent, to close at 8,924.27. Turnover was light, at $2.9 billion, significantly down from an adjusted $4.47 billion on Friday. Volume was light, with 1.09 billion shares changing hands. Brokers said investors were in a selling frame of mind, awaiting results from HSBC Holdings and Hang Seng Bank, both of which reported 'acceptable' interims after the market closed. Brokers said Wall Street was closely monitored, and news that China would resume missile testing near Taiwan today was adding to negative sentiment in the market. 'Ahead of the results, we did see weakness,' Morgan Grenfell director David Lavington said. 'There was anticipation of poor results but we are still worried about the United States, and that will probably continue.' Kleinwort Benson sales head Nial Gooding said despite the many factors blamed for the market's downward movement of late, trading was still in a directionless pattern typical of summer in the territory. 'Why did the Hong Kong market go down? Why not?' he asked. 'People are selling only because they are afraid other people will sell before them. 'The big thing now, wherever you go, everyone is saying, 'What about China?' 'We need some news from China . . . before we see some direction.' All sectors except utilities lost ground, sparked by Friday losses on Wall Street and the nervous feeling towards HSBC Holdings and Hang Seng Bank. Bank stocks were hit hardest, with the sector's sub-index falling 123.22 points, or 1.41 per cent, to close at 8,609.18. Investors were worried about forecasts from Britain which were not overly positive for HSBC Holdings, brokers said. Individual bank shares took a beating, with HSBC Holdings left pummelled. The stock lost $1.75 to close at $99.75 after hitting an intra-day low of $99.25. Turnover reached $390.84 million. Hang Seng Bank fell 50 cents to $63.75, hitting a day's low of $62.75, while Bank of East Asia lost 30 cents, closing at $24.80, after bottoming out at $24.70. Properties were hard hit, with the sub-index closing 165.13 points, or 1.1 per cent, lower, at 14,880.86. Brokers said the many factors pushing down the market were negative for the sector already on shaky ground. Cheung Kong saw heavy selling, claiming the number two spot in the top 10 most traded category on turnover of $222.08 million. Shares in the company fell 90 cents to $36.70. Sun Hung Kai Properties lost 50 cents to close at $52.75, New World Development shed 30 cents to close at $26.40, Sino Land fell 15 cents to $5.30, and Henderson Land was down 20 cents to $41.10. The utilities sector was the only one to buck the downward trend yesterday, with investors switching to the more solid counters in the wake of uncertain times in banking and property. The sub-index gained 28.81 points, or 0.29 per cent, to close at 9,978.75. Hongkong Telecom, which received a solid buy recommendation from Salomon Brothers on a forecast that the utility could maintain a profit growth of more than 15 per cent a year despite increased risk from regulation, gained five cents to close at $13.35. Hongkong & China Gas was up five cents, to $11.95, while Hongkong Electric also climbed 10 cents, to $26.10. China Light & Power closed even at $37.60. The morning started on a negative footing yesterday, with the index opening 37.95 points down from Friday's close, at 8,968.98. Despite some slight ups-and-downs, the index fell relatively steadily to the morning close, ending the early session at 8,973.03 - down 33.90 points, or 0.38 per cent. The afternoon only got worse, opening a further 46.01 points down, at 8,927.02. Moments before 3pm it began a steep dive, falling to the day's low of 8,887.98 just before 3.20pm. It recovered a little before the close. The Hang Seng MidCap 50 Index lost 6.93 points, or 0.55 per cent, to close at 1,236.44. Brokers warned that any downward trend on Wall Street overnight could overshadow any upward momentum resulting from the bank results.