STOCKS slipped for a second day as profit-taking and poor turnover robbed the market of impetus. Selling pressure was light however and most brokers were still predicting the index would break through the psychologically important 10,000 barrier soon. The Hang Seng Index closed 14.14 points down at 9,873.90, a loss of 0.14 per cent. Turnover was a modest $3.34 billion, well down from the revised $5.34 billion for Thursday. Volume also was sharply reduced with 1.35 billion shares changing hands. Trading was spread evenly across the market with second and third liners gaining more attention as the blue chips temporarily ran out of steam. Brokers said the drop in the index was the result of profit-taking. Most agreed the market had risen too far, too fast. Low Kok-keong, dealer at Dao Heng Securities, said: 'A lot of people were aiming at 10,000 to take profit, but someone started to sell early and others followed.' Ben Kwong, research director of Dharmala Securities, said it was a healthy correction. He said investors were unwilling to take a large position ahead of the weekend and the release of further economic figures in the US. The market opened the day on a positive note, spurred on by the rebound on Wall Street where the Dow Jones Industrial Average had climbed 22.04 points to 4,762.71 overnight. The index rose from the previous close of 9,888.04 to reach the day's high of 9,920.25 at 10.30am. Selling pressure then mounted and the index dropped steadily throughout the morning to close for lunch at 9,845, an intra-day fall of 43.04 points. The afternoon saw selling continue with the index reaching the day's low of 9,832.24 just after 3pm. Sentiment changed late in the day and the index retraced some lost ground towards the close. Individual blue chips were mixed, with 15 up, 14 losing ground and four unchanged. Banks led the retreat with the Hang Seng Finance sub-index falling 45.33 points to 9,267.55. HSBC Holdings lost 50 cents to $111 in the day's highest turnover of $237.25 million. Mr Kwong said: 'HSBC has been in new territory recently and is near its year high. I'm not surprised it has come off a little.' In the previous day's London trading, HSBC had closed at $111.95, just five cents off its 12-month peak. Hang Seng Bank also was down 50 cents to $64, while Bank of East Asia bucked the trend climbing 15 cents to $26.05. Property stocks were mixed with the Hang Seng property sub-index losing a slender 11.6 points to 17,360.98. Sun Hung Kai Properties was hit hardest, losing 50 cents to $63. This came a day after its release of a respectable 17.5 per cent rise in annual profits. Lennon Chan, director of Tai Fook Securities, said the counter closed lower because its performance had failed to outperform expectations. He said: 'It was within the range of most estimates. But we should see it attract a lot of buying interest next week.' Among other major property counters, Henderson Land Development lost 10 cents to $48.70, Cheung Kong was unchanged at $43.80, while New World Development rose 30 cents to $31.50. Some of the smaller blue chip property counters made ground as they have lagged the recent rally in their largest brethren. Great Eagle Holdings added 40 cents to $21.10 and Sino Land rose 10 cents to $5.80. The largest fall among blue chips was made by Television Broadcasts which closed 60 cents lower at $30. People were still worried about the quality of its earnings, one broker said. With the focus shifting away from the blue chips, second and third liners enjoyed quite a deal of attention from investors. The Hang Seng Midcap Index gained 2.78 points to 1,282.28, a rise of 0.22 per cent. Ngai Hing Hong, a manufacturer and distributor of plastic resins, had a strong day, adding 17.5 cents to $4.25 in turnover of $82.8 million. Mr Low said: 'Ngai Hing Hong has been appearing in the papers and on the trading screen with a great deal of regularity. If people see a bit of action they are often tempted to jump in.' Brokers are still predicting the index will break the 10,000 barrier soon.