STOCKS closed slightly higher in thin trading yesterday as the market rebounded following six days of losses. Most investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of news on interest rates from today's meeting at the United States Federal Reserve. The Hang Seng Index rose 22.15 points or 0.24 per cent to finish at 9,407.37. Turnover was $2.65 billion, up from the revised $2.54 billion for Monday. Volume was thin with 1.03 billion shares traded. Ben Kwong, research director of Dharmala Securities, said: 'It was just a technical rebound. Turnover is very low and there is no real momentum at the moment.' Two concerns kept investors on the sidelines: uncertainty over whether interest rates will be cut when the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meets today, and the lack of a resolution on the US budget discussions. The market generally doubts a further interest rate cut will be made at the Fed meeting; one of the factors that has driven stocks down over the past week. The growing impasse over the negotiation of US budget measures is also dampening sentiment, especially following the failure to pass an emergency spending bill. The market opened higher, with the index climbing from the previous close of 9,385.22 to the day's high of 9,438.55 at 10.45 am. It then lost momentum and drifted lower to close the morning session at 9,352.75, an intra-day loss of 32.47 points. The index dropped sharply when the afternoon session opened, falling as low of 9,313.4 before reaching bottom. It climbed higher in seesaw trading to the close. Blue chips were mixed. Of the 33 index constituents, 14 advanced, nine closed unchanged and 10 lost value. Utilities led the way up, with the Hang Seng utilities sub-index rising 60.35 points to 9,782.57. Hongkong Telecom rose 15 cents to $12.90, as did Hongkong Electric to $26. Both were seen benefiting from bargain-hunting following their recent weakness. Banks were also stronger, with the Hang Seng finance sub-index adding 22.26 points to reach 9,174.4. Hang Seng Bank led all stocks in net gain, adding 50 cents to $64. Bank of East Asia climbed 10 cents to $27, while HSBC was unchanged at $109 with the day's biggest turnover of $308.63 million. Property stocks were mixed, with the Hang Seng sub-index losing 0.57 point to 16,241.55. Hopewell took a battering amid continuing concern about spiralling costs at its China infrastructure projects. The counter lost 20 cents or 4.28 per cent to $4.475. At one stage it fell to as low as $4.425, its lowest level since August 1993. James Osborn, sales director at Baring Securities, said: 'Hopewell still has a potential cash flow problem and its gearing is high.' Other property stocks fared better. Hang Lung Development added 30 cents to $12, Cheung Kong was up 30 cents to $42 and Henderson Land Development rose 30 cents to $44.80. New World Development lost 45 cents to $29.15 as profit-takers cashed in on the rally it made following the release of its final results. Commercial and industrial counters were mostly stronger, with the sub-index adding 14.55 points to 6,927.97. Conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa added 30 cents to $41.70 on news it had acquired a telecommunications unit of Pacific Century. Analysts said Hutchison could now provide a full portfolio of telecommunications services. Citic Pacific continued to rally, adding 30 cents to $23.15 after adding 25 cents on Monday. Second and third line stocks were mixed. The Hang Seng MidCap 50 Index fell 1.85 points to 1,197.87. China Motor Bus, one of two listed bus franchise operators, gained ground on news its net profits for the year had risen 15 per cent. The counter added 50 cents to $62.75. Indonesian-based oil producer Seaunion was the most heavily traded stock of the day, rising 1.7 cents to 16.2 cents with 47.48 million shares changing hands. Recent listings Magician Industries and Prime Success were also heavily traded. Magician, a manufacturer of houseware, rose seven cents to $1.70, while women's shoes manufacturer Prime Success added four cents to $1.22. Most brokers said the market seemed to have found some support around this level and was unlikely to drop much further even if there was bad news on interest rates.