Swire Pacific was unable to ride the market's surge yesterday, held back by investor apathy towards the stock and resistance above $60, brokers said. As the Hang Seng Index climbed almost 2 per cent, the conglomerate ended level at $59.75. Swire's recent moves to buoy its market price through share buy-backs helped to make it unattractive, analyst said. One broker said: 'All we have seen . . . is the company buying back its own shares, so short-term prospects appear limited.' The broker said the counter was seeing selling pressure at the $60 mark. Allen Chang, sales director at BNP PrimeEast Securities, said: 'Swire has lagged the market all this year.' Since January 1, Swire, whose interests include aviation, property and marine services, has under-performed the Hang Seng Index by 14.5 per cent. Mr Chang said worries over earnings prospects at Cathay Pacific Airways - in which Swire holds a 43.86 per cent stake - were also to blame. On Tuesday, Cathay said tight industry margins, congestion at Kai Tak and increased costs at Chek Lap Kok might hurt profits. Mansion House Securities research manager Stanley Ng said although the conglomerate was well run, investors shied away from its aura of Britishness at a time when mainland interests were gaining greater influence. 'In terms of quality it's a good stock but it always under-performs . . . people look at it, it is a British company. They will continue to give concessions to the Chinese,' Mr Ng said. Last year, Swire sold stakes in Cathay and Hong Kong Dragon Airlines to mainland-backed groups in deals ending half a century of British domination of the territory's aviation industry. Other analysts blamed higher interest rates for Swire's troubles.