Market boffins are continuing to break with tradition to blow a steady stream of raspberries the way of Hutchison Whampoa following the release of its 1996 profit results. Investment house Salomon Brothers has gone public to launch the strongest attack yet on the one-time darling of the market. The April 1 edition of the broking giant's Pacific Perspectives publication takes the opportunity to lambast the conglomerate's apparently lukewarm attempts at transparency. 'Hutchison's first ever analysts' meeting was extremely poor,' the publication says. Salomon's analysis also goes on to personally attack the performance of Hutchison's head honcho at the briefing: 'Canning Fok, the group's managing director, failed to answer any question directly except to say that Husky Oil contributed 3 per cent of attributable earnings.' The flak jackets must now be well and truly out of mothballs at Hutch. Just last week, it faced similar criticisms of statements that accompanied the profit figures. Private Eye magazine informs us the long-expected deluge of journalists from Britain's state-owned national broadcaster to cover the 'End of Empire' festivities is about to commence. According to the magazine's latest in-depth investigations, 182 BBC staff - this figure is not a misprint - are about to hit Hong Kong to cover the handover. The invasion of BBC personnel is but the first sign of what will be a full-on journalistic wordfest. As has been well publicised, as many as 6,000 humble hacks are about to hit the standard Hong Kong journalistic beat - that is, Wan Chai, Lan Kwai Fong and the Foreign Correspondents' Club. We are reliably informed that in excess of 2,000 interview requests have been received by Chris Patten's office alone from the assembled media throng. You have been warned. Still on those wacky broking houses, ING Barings is turning to Hollywood in a desperate bid to make economics a sexy subject. The title of its Asian strategy focus for the week? Well, it's a triple feature, actually: Three Rate Rises and a Funeral, Blame it on Rio and (T)hai Anxiety. Mainland aviation mammoth China Aviation Technology Import and Export Corporation (Catic) has come up with the perfect way to raise cash - hold an exhibition. The company is showing off the aeroplanes, helicopters engines and other high technology gear it makes in a week-long exhibition at the Hong Kong Convention Centre. Yesterday's first day was packed with school kids cramming it into their Easter holiday schedule. And the queues to get into the show were comparable with those of a comic book exhibition. Most of the crowds were congregated around state-of-the art helicopters and jet fighter cockpits. Interestingly, one feature of the exhibition given a wide berth during the festivities was an ejector seat in one of the fighter planes, with parents apparently worried about the well-being of their children. However, we'd suggest it might be a good way for adults to - at least temporarily - rid themselves of misbehaving critters. With tickets going at $30 a pop for the week-long event, and given the crowds during yesterday's proceedings, Catic may even be able to call off its proposed H-share listing. Clinton Leeks of the Airport Authority tells us of a parallel between the deaths of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy that escaped our attention earlier this week. Lincoln was shot in Ford's Theatre, while Kennedy was in a Ford Convertible when he was assassinated. Clinton adds: 'Kennedy may even have been in a Ford Lincoln, but I can't be sure.' That bastion of heavyweight business news, The Asian Wall Street Journal, seems to need a bit of a helping hand when it comes to its Hong Kong geography. The Journal ran a piece yesterday on moves by the rich and famous to bolster their security ahead of the handover. As an example, it cited the robbery 18 months ago of celebrity couple Brenda and Kai-bong Chau, well known for their understated pink Rolls-Royces. The article mentions in its opening paragraph that the Chau's were 'tied up and robbed in their mountaintop mansion'. As a reader points out, the residence - Villa D'Oro - may be on Mount Davis Road, but it could hardly be classed as mountaintop. The mansion is near the bottom of Mount Davis - barely 100 feet above sea level.