Late-session buying interest from overseas carried the Hang Seng Index higher yesterday in an otherwise uneventful day of trade. With the market showing little direction and renewed fears of US interest rate increase, investors were seeking out stability in utility stocks and conglomerates, brokers said. The blue-chip Hang Seng Index ended at 11,379.49, up 40.56 points. Volume remained little changed at $3.64 billion, from $3.5 billion on Tuesday. Hong Kong Telecommunications surged more than 1.5 per cent while China Light & Power added nearly 1 per cent. Ricky Tam, senior research analyst at Delta Asia Securities, said the increasing number of mutual funds opening in the territory would benefit utility stocks. Conglomerates Swire Pacific and Wharf added more than 1 per cent in value yesterday. Brokers said that investors had been switching out of Hutchison Whampoa and jumping into Swire and Wharf after Hutchison's interim results last week were below expectations. Impending entry into the Hang Seng Index continued to boost the share price of First Pacific, which added 1.5 per cent. Henderson Investment, which will also join the Hang Seng Index, rose 0.5 per cent after Merrill Lynch issued 500 million warrants on the stock. Merrill Lynch also set 80 million warrants on Paul Y Construction, which surged 3 per cent, while Carr Indosuez set 300 million warrants on Amoy Properties, which closed lower. New World Development advanced more than 1.5 per cent as investors anticipated the firm would post strong year-end results on the back of exceptional gains stemming from the flotation of China infrastructure arm New World Infrastructure. H shares continued their downward slide in the face of worse than expected earnings. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index fell 1.22 per cent. Ben Kwong, head of research at Dharmala Securities, said: 'Results are lower than expected, reflecting that operating environment in China is quite difficult.' Meanwhile, Guangzhou Investment released a statement saying that it had no plans to place new shares other than a proposed secondary listing in Singapore.