March could be a good month for property developer stocks, analysts say, as land auctions and apartment sales heat up after a two-month lull. The release of year-end results by developers, which will reflect the sharp rise in property prices at the end of last year, should also boost sentiment in the sector. Cheung Kong will come to the market with units of its Laguna Verde project in Hunghom. The month will also see sales at HKR International's Discovery Park, Henderson Land's Metro City, Tolo Place and Granville Garden, while Wheelock will sell luxury duplexes in Tai Po. The Government is to auction two residential sights totalling more than 28,000 square metres on March 25. SocGen-Crosby analyst Alan Dalgleish said: 'A property sale will always hit the newspapers and attention will be drawn to whoever is having the launch.' Since the start of the year, property counters have failed to live up to their role as the engine of the stock market. Besides a lack of market-moving news, investors have been concerned about a rise in US interest rates and the possibility that the Government would take measures to cool property prices after last year's rally. Those fears prompted some investors to switch into banking stocks ahead of their reporting season. Since January 2, financial shares have gained almost 10 per cent in value, while property counters have lost more than 4 per cent. With some analysts saying banking shares are fully valued, sentiment could now shift back into property. Underlying support for property stocks remains strong. According to the Estimate Directory, 57 per cent of brokerage reports on property firms carry buy recommendations, while only 14 per cent recommend a sell. The average for Hong Kong is 50 per cent buy recommendations and 19 per cent sell. This month's property sales are expected to incite a strong response from home buyers. Michael Green at Salomon Brothers said: 'With the festive season just over and people having bonus money in their pockets, March should be a busy month.' Cheung Kong is projected to sell units at Laguna Verde at over $8,000 per square foot. According to market rumour, prices could go above $10,000 per square foot. Mr Green said prices that high could backfire on the stock market as the Government would almost certainly take measures to cool speculation. 'There is certainly a threat of speculation coming back in a big way, but the [stock] market will probably take things more positively if things are kept on an even keel.' He said the recent statements by US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan warning that interest rates could be raised to pre-empt inflation was in the longer term positive for the Hong Kong property market. 'If Greenspan hadn't made the comments, we could have been looking at excessive speculation.' Cheung Kong will lead any charge by property counters, analysts predict. Not only will it hold the largest property sale of the month, its 1996 results are likely to be above expectation. Cheung Kong's bottom-line will get a healthy boost from a large number of sales booked in the second half of last year. Investors are advised to monitor the share price of each of the developers a week or so before their units hit the market. Nava SC Securities technical analyst John Schofield has calculated the 'breakout point' for some of the leading property companies. Cheung Kong is likely to accelerate after breaching resistance at $75, while Sun Hung Kai Properties must break $92 and Henderson Land must overcome $72.