HUTCHISON Whampoa's share price has equalled its historic high, a mark set in the heady days of the 1993-94 bull run, but this does not mean the rest of the market is ready to follow. A month of solid gains has seen Hutchison shares climb through the high $30s, break through the $40 mark on September 14, and reach its previous high of $42.50 just before noon. It closed a little lower at $42.30, but was still 40 cents up on the day and is now poised to push on into untested territory. Hutchison last reached this point in February last year, just before the bubble burst in the Hong Kong market and sent stocks into a year-long retreat. Hutchison is the first of the major blue chips to retrace that lost ground, and many are hoping the way is open for the rest of the market to follow. Hutchison is no bellwether stock. Its popularity is due to a particular blend of performance and prospects that few of the other companies in the market can match. Its container terminals in Hong Kong and China stand ready to benefit from an expected pick-up in trade once China's austerity measures are eased. Its property developments at South Horizons and Laguna City are likely to be sold out by the end of the year. Most important of all, its loss-making British telecommunications company Orange, is set for a turnaround. Rumours of the potential listing of Orange have fuelled Hutchison's share price for some time. Analysts are united in saying the revival of Hutchison is based on its own strong corporate performance rather than from an inherent strength in the market. Seapower Securities research manager Samuel Ho says the rise is due to rumours about Orange and strong earnings performance. Deutsche Morgan Grenfell deputy-managing director David Lavington says: 'Undoubtedly, there are a lot of optimistic views regarding Hutchison, partly because of talk of a listing of Orange in the UK. 'But I don't think we are seeing any real recovery going on in the market.' James Capel Asia associate director Carl Wong says it will be a mistake to look at Hutchison and conclude the rest of the market is also on the way back. He says it is a hopeful sign, but every company will have to prove its worth through improved earnings. 'At the end of the day it is still fundamentals that count,' he says.