Hong Kong blue chips eased in subdued trade yesterday ahead of the release of wages data from the United States. Brokers said the figures would help investors assess the likelihood of another increase in interest rates. The market rallied in the morning session on the back of gains on Wall Street overnight, touching a high of 12,697.16 points. It was unable to hang on to the advance, however. Charles Cheung, executive director at J & A Securities, said: 'The blue chips are still very quiet. Investors are waiting for statistics out of the US.' The Hang Seng Index closed 9.75 points down at 12,600.42. Turnover slipped to $11.03 billion, compared with the previous session's $13.91 billion. Johnson Electric, which manufactures micromotors, led the index-constituent gainers, with a rise of 6.73 per cent to $20.60. Among financials, HSBC rose $1 to $190, while subsidiary Hang Seng Bank went the other way, losing 50 cents to $84.75. Properties were mostly weaker. Cheung Kong dipped 75 cents to $66.25, Sun Hung Kai Properties lost 25 cents to finish at $80.75 and Henderson Land fell 50 cents to $63.50. Sino Land bucked the trend, rising 2.81 per cent to $7.30. Outside the index, fashion retailer Giordano International came back off its lows after two sessions of heavy selling to end 10 cents up at $4.175. Last week, the company's plans to link up with five mainland state-owned enterprises collapsed, helping to erase 19 per cent off its shares price. Brokers said that with further important US data due for release today and on Friday, investors would be reluctant to take positions.