GROWING concern about Sino-US trade relations and reaction to news of the jeans giant Levi's withdrawal from China depressed the stock market yesterday, with the Hang Seng Index closing down 40.4 points at 6,790.11. However, brokers said that although the market did need some consolidation, the decline was not significant as turnover was light and selling pressure caused prices to be marked down. Turnover was only $3.15 billion. With the Sino-British talks off until May 21, many investors switched their focus to China's Most Favoured Nation (MFN) trade status with the United States. President Bill Clinton has until June 3 to decide whether to renew China's MFN status without conditions. However, it now appears there will be conditions involving issues such as human rights and military sales. Governor Chris Patten yesterday met Mr Clinton in Washington to lobby for the unconditional renewal. A little more fuel was added to the MFN-related selling when Levi, the large US casual clothing maker, decided to stop manufacturing in China because of concern about human rights. Baring Securities director James Osborn said Levi's decision caused negative market sentiment because it was a high-profile company to which people could relate. The Levi announcement and profit-taking combined to slash 102.87 points off the index to 6,727.64 half an hour into trading. However, the market decline was nipped in the bud by bargain hunters who moved in to buy Cheung Kong and other property counters. This helped the index claw its way back to 6,783.28 by lunchtime. In the afternoon session, the index moved up again to peak at 6,830.51 before it closed at 6,790.11. Seabase International was among the most heavily traded on a turnover of $92.23 million after parent Seapower International announced it was reducing its stake in the company to allow for a takeover by a mainland group. The stock jumped 30 cents or 7.83 per cent to $4.125 with 22.72 million shares changing hands. Glynhill International fell 4.8 per cent or two cents to 39.5 cents after the company issued a statement saying that it knew of no reason for recent increases in the price of its shares. The stock was buoyed by rumours that the Lai Sun subsidiary was interested in bidding for the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Central. Trading of World Trade Centre Group, Tomson Pacific and Rivera was suspended at their request in the midst of speculation of a takeover offer for World Trade Centre.