THE return to trading of CITIC Pacific after its record $7.17 billion placement failed to ignite activity in the stock market yesterday and the Hang Seng index drifted down 17.76 points. However, there was some interest in smaller stocks outside the Hang Seng Index. The index traded in a very narrow band of less than 30 points on volume of $1.49 billion, lower even than Thursday's $1.68 billion. With no corporate news or developments in Sino-British relations there was little reason to trade, and nine of the 33 stocks in the Hang Seng Index were unchanged over the day. The biggest factor in the performance of the index was HSBC Holdings. A markdown of the company's shares from $56.50 to $56 gave the index a bad start to the day's trade, and contributed to the day's low in early trade of 5,524.19. HSBC's share price moved between the two levels all day. With the shares at $56.50 the day's high of 5,552.39 was reached just before the lunch close of 5,550.55. HSBC shares again fell to $56 in mid-afternoon, knocking seven points off the index, which closed at 5,529.56, up 0.31 per cent on the week. CITIC Pacific resumed trading after being suspended for two days because of its placement and loan package. Its turnover, $61.5 million, was the highest after HSBC's, but the shares moved little, closing down 10 cents at $13.40. The placement involved the transfer of 1.339 billion shares in Hongkong Telecom to CITIC Pacific from an unlisted parent company. Hongkong Telecom's shares continued to trade actively at $9.55, but closed unchanged. The biggest mover among the index stocks was Mandarin Oriental, which rose 25 cents, 3.4 per cent, to $7.70. Good Hongkong tourism figures have supported the stock for the past two weeks. The next biggest move was the 3.3 per cent increase by Lai Sun Garment, which rose 7.5 cents to $2.35. On the futures exchange, volumes were higher and prices went up. The January index contract closed at 5,520, up 20 points, narrowing the discount to the cash market to nine points. The other index contracts also rose. The total number of contracts written was 4,544, 456 above Thursday's revised total. ''For the blue chips it's been very quiet,'' said Mr Percy Au-Young, research director at SHK Securities. ''But some of the second-line counters have been in strong demand.'' Among the stocks he noted were Oriental Press, whose $41.9 million turnover was the day's fourth highest. Retail investors sold the stock to local funds after its sharp increase in interim profits this week focused attention on its low price compared with other media stocks.