The busiest day in Hong Kong stock market history yesterday left industry professionals grasping for superlatives. '[Yesterday] started wild, and as the day progressed, it only got wilder,' an equity salesman said. Howard Gorges, director of South China Brokerage, described the day as the crescendo of an incredible week. That the previous bull-market turnover record could be shattered by the Government - essentially the only buyer in the market - was in Mr Gorge's words, 'extraordinary'. 'There has never been a day [like yesterday],' he said. Another equity salesman said his phone-mail was swamped with frantic messages from clients even before he got to work. His advice to clients: sell. 'What more could I have told clients when the Government was bull-dozing through the market like that,' he explained. The salesman said he was having to balance buy orders from the Government and sell orders from street clients. 'I can tell you, the Government's left a lot of smiles on our faces,' he said, adding that a quick calculation had indicated that two months' of operating costs had been paid thanks to the Monetary Authority. South China's Mr Gorges said every face on his company's trading desk was a picture of amazement and puzzlement. He said each trader was wondering how long the Government could continue its buying. 'There's never been anything like it,' he said. The buzz from morning trading quickly spilled from the trading floors to lunch tables, as brokers and salesmen gathered at Central's trendy eateries traded rumours. 'It was an electric mood at lunch,' said a broker who lunched at a popular dim sum restaurant. 'Some people were saying 'it's doomsday' and a 'global meltdown''. While traders said turnover began slowing in the afternoon - as the world tuned into Financial Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's state of the economy speech - it was the turn of brokerage house back-offices to feel the heat. 'The staff cuts over the past year have left us with about half our full complement of staff,' said an exasperated back-office manager. 'We are completely swamped and will probably be here until midnight sorting all the trades out,' he said.