Hong Kong stocks lost ground yesterday as Government moves to crack down on mortgage lending saw property counters take a battering. Brokers said investors were worried that curbs on lending proposed by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority on Tuesday would hurt earnings at the leading property developers. The market was further weakened by futures-related selling ahead of today's expiry of the January index futures. The Hang Seng Index closed 117.86 points lower at 13,285.43. That was its sixth decline in the past seven trading days. Turnover rose to $11.89 billion from Tuesday's $8.63 billion. Edward Chan, head of research at Amsteel Securities, said: 'The market was volatile and there was some heavy selling of property counters. 'Investors are worried the Government may increase its scope of the proposals to cover the overall mortgage market.' The Monetary Authorities' proposals only applied to lending for luxury residential properties but property counters fell across the board. Cheung Kong led the way down, sliding $2.50, or 3.34 per cent, to $72.25, Henderson Land Development lost $2.25 to $72.50 and Sun Hung Kai Properties shed $2 to $88.75. Brokers said the selling was overdone as the proposed tightening would only have a negligible impact on the leading property companies. Weakness on Wall Street also weighed down the market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 4.61 points on Tuesday, its fifth consecutive loss, while US long-bond yields rose one basis point to 6.93 per cent. Futures related activity compounded the selling as it has done for much of the past week. Brokers said several major institutions, which had gone short in the futures market, were selling underlying stocks to support their positions before the January futures expire today. Among the 33 Hang Seng Index constituents, seven advanced, three closed unchanged, and 23 lost value. Much of the attention was focused on Citic Pacific and China Light & Power following Citic's purchase of a stake in the utility on Tuesday. China Light stock surged $1.10 to $34.80, the biggest net gain in the market. James Poon, a director at Kleinwort Benson Securities, said: 'China Light was the main beneficiary of the deal. The counter had under-performed significantly to the point where almost any news would have been favourable.' Citic lost $1 to $38.50 as the purchase was seen creating a funding problem for the China-backed conglomerate. Citic shares have now fallen 14.2 per cent since the start of the year. Brokers see the market likely to be weak again today but expect it to head higher once the futures have expired.