Hong Kong stocks headed lower yesterday with most of the action focused on areas usually hidden from view. The listing of Shum Yip Investment, the commercial arm of the Shenzhen municipal government, took centre stage as it soared 144.59 per cent above its issue price of $1.85 at $4.525. It was the most active stock by value. Brokers said the bulk of the day's trades came from retail investors chasing China-related and second-line shares. Richard Verin, head of equity trading at Credit Suisse First Boston, said: 'There are occasional selling orders from offshore in selected issues [but] the primary participants in the market are local. The stocks that are being played are local.' The blue-chip Hang Seng Index ended 79.01 points weaker at 13,337.35, off a low of 13,304.2. Among index constituents, properties lost the most ground. Cheung Kong slipped 1.66 per cent to $74.50 after announcing it would price the first batch of apartments at its Laguna Verde project in Hunghom at $8,286 a square foot. Brokers said the figure was below what some analysts had forecast and well short of rumoured prices above $10,000 a square foot. China Light & Power, which shares the Hunghom development, was also weaker, ending 1.39 per cent lower at $35.60. Properties were also undermined by growing fears that the US Federal Reserve was set to raise interest rates at its March 25 meeting. Alan Hutcheson, research manager at Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, said: 'More people are coming around to the view of a raise this month.' Outside the index, China Merchants Hai Hong and Shun Shing saw active trade. Both are controlled by China's Ministry of Communications. China Merchants said its long-expected move to buy assets from its parent was only at a preliminary stage. Its shares slipped 10 cents to $5.65. Shun Shing, a building contractor taken over by Cosco Property Development last week, gave up some of its recent huge advance, losing 9.43 per cent to end at $3.125. Kwong Sang Hong International fell a further 2.05 per cent to $3.35. The property firm plunged 20.8 per cent on Thursday after Peregrine's bid to take it private failed.